Curiosities of Music - online book

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64                    CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
mental maxim of this philosopher,* and he sought for the laws in music, therefore, in nature. This led to some mistakes of course, for the laws of nature had not been made clear enough for thorough guidance, in that era. It is sa'd that Pythagoras one day, passing by a blacksmith's shop heard the blows of different hammers sound the fundamental, fourth, fifth, and octave, and entering, he weighed the different hammers, thereby obtaining the proportion of these intervals to each other.
This story has been proved to be a silly myth, for the proportions given are wrong. He should have weighed the anvils not the hammers, and anvils of such difference in size as would be requisite to produce these intervals would not be seen in blacksmiths' shops.
Pythagoras taught that not the ear, but mathematics, should be the guide in music. He held that the universe was constructed on a musical plan, and was probably the first to introduce among the Greeks the theory of the music of the spheres. The fact that man could not hear this music,f was explained by the statement that the sounds were either too deep or too high for our ears. The reasoning was plausible enough, and has been confirmed by science, for sounds
The very title " philosopher " wu of his own coining, for previous sages called themselves Sophos (wise), but he preferred the better nunc of Philosopher (lover of wisdom).
t Some of the pupils of Pythagoras, maintained that he only of all men had beard the harmony of the spheres.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III