Kappraff, Jay; McClain, Ernest G.
March 2005
Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography;Spring-Fall2005, Vol. 30 Issue 1/2, p5
Academic Journal
The architecture historian Anne Bulckens has studied the proportions of the Parthenon based on the measurements of Francis Cranmer Penrose (the measurements referred to by most scholars). In her work she discovered the length of a module and measure of a Parthenon foot used throughout the structure conforming well to the architectural principals described by Vitruvius. The principal result of her studies is that all of the significant measurements can be reckoned as integers within the preset tolerance of 0.2% although the load bearing elements have deviations of far less. We have discovered that the integers can be correlated with the musical scale of Pythagoras. Most notably the length, width, and heights of the outer temple and the length and width of the cella form a pentatonic scale. Our contribution to Bulckens' work lies in trying to review it carefully within philosophical principles prevalent in the fifth century B.C. when it was under construction-for which we rely on Philolaus, the earliest Pythagorean author, writing in Tarentum while the Parthenon was under construction. We believe her analysis may prove significant both to the study of other Greek temples and to a better understanding of Pythagorean influence on Greek ideals.


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