During the Renaissance there was no science of sound as we currently understand it. Conjectures about sound were provided by observations of particular acoustical phenomena incorporated in buildings or in open spaces, like whispering galleries or echoes as discussed in architecture. Sound was also a topic of interest for those who studied the functioning of natural bodies (i.e., voice and hearing), artificial instruments and machines (e.g., automata and war machines), among others. Although sound could not be identified as the subject matter of any science, it was attributed a relevant role in music treatises. It is assumed that the philosophical traditions involved in its study approached sound either as motion or as the object of hearing. However, up to the seventeenth century sound, as part of music, was mostly explored within the Aristotelian framework of subalternate sciences, being studied not as a perceived quality but as the natural quality of number, the actual object of music.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Musical Instrument Mathematical Science Natural Philosopher Music Theory
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