Three important inventions in classical music.

The Pythagoras’ string, violin, piano, metronome, gramophone, and theories, without which the classical music would be different from what’s known now. 

1. About 5 B.C. 

The invention of monochord  

The invention of the tool for an accurate formation of musical intervals is ascribed to Pythagoras. Its work principle was firstly described by Euclide 15o years later, but till the age of Renaissance, monochord has been one of the most important instruments for theorists. It represented one string with the moving clamp, which moved on the lower axis, parallel to the string along with its entire length. Unlike ancient instruments, it was never played in cathedrals or at the squares. 



With the help of this tool, Pythagoreans for the first time in the music history managed to set mathematical foundations of musical harmony. According to the Greeks, music harmony was the part of the common harmony in the world, which foundation was the numbers. With the help of this device, they estimated mathematical ratios os music intervals in the natural order and developed the theory of musical mode. 

2. 1027

The appearance of the first prototype of modern linear notation

The creation of the modern musical notation and solfization (solfeggio) by the Italian scientist, composer, and teacher, Guido d’Arezzo, was the primary step to liquidation gap between theory and practice of that time. The linear notation was a very important step ahead if comparing to the more obsolete, so-called neumes notation, which was used in Europe at the beginning if the 9th century. A new system of notation included a special mnemotechnical system, called Guido’s hand, where the order of sound sequence was defined by knuckles and fingertips. The sounds were firstly separated from syllables of the singing text, which got the universal names, taken from the first syllables of the anthem to St. John the Baptist : 


    1    Ut queant laxis

    2    resonare fibris,

    3    Mira gestorum

    4    famuli tuorum,

    5    Solve polluti

    6    labii reatum,

    7    Sancte Iohannes.

Musical education transformed into a scientific observation. It is important to mention the Guido discovered only the principle: it took six centuries more to create the note symbols we know today. 


First time usage of printing machine for replicating notes. 


It was the Italian Ottaviano Scotto, who typed the missal with wooden boards. Twenty years later, in 1501, his compatriot Ottaviano Petrucci (1466-1539) for the first time applied the typeface for printing notes and received the 20-year monopoly for their edition from the Venice Republic. The first music edition by Petrucci was “Harmonice music's odhecaton”, which included elite works by outstanding composers of that time - Obrecht, Okegem, Despres, Tintoris, and others. The printing machine was the main and almost the only means of spreading music across Europe 

Author : Karina N. 




CultureKarina Nguyen