Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hi, everyone. I am doing some preliminary research toward a PhD in music with an emphasis on how astrology is intertwined with the history of the guitar. So far, I have found numerous threads upon which one might want to pull, hopefully revealing a more interdependent historical web of astrology's connections to plucked strings.

I am specifically interested in the Renaissance and its resemblance to the present world situation, particularly ecospirituality and humanistic astrology. I have read what Marsilio Ficino had to say about the topic of music therapy and lute song's representations of astrological symbols. Assigning particular elements to particular strings was also quite common. I believe Luis de Narvaez mentioned this in his vihuela book. It is quite possible such a practice was passed on by the Arab ud players. Clearly, much astrological study was preserved by the Arabs and later shared with Western Europe.

Are there instances of this sort of interdisciplinary phenomenon that come to your minds? I am most interested in the guitar specifically, including the pre-Renaissance incarnations, although any Western European plucked-string instrument would be a delight to study with regard to astrology. Thanks so much.

Lars Rosager

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I cannot help specifically, but I  replied as today I read something about Babylonian astrology and astronomy which lead to the Greek advances in astronomic thought.

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/babylonians-scie...  and also

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/science/babylonians-clay-tablets-...

I didnt know of Ficino, but I already like him. ...Ficino introduced the term and concept of "platonic love" in the West. ''In 1489 he was accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII and needed strong defense to preserve him from the condemnation of heresy.'' A vegetarian too, if Wiki is accurate.

Maybe if you have interesting links on the musical aspects of your studies perhaps you could share them

Thanks, Tonyyyy. Just yesterday I was reading a very interesting article by Robin Headlam Wells called "Number Symbolism in the Renaissance Lute Rose." It includes some thoughts on astrology. The article is out there online somewhere. Also, if you're intrigued by Ficino, read the unpublished paper "Ficino's music therapy: The Power of Aerial Songs" by Cecilia Maier-Kapoor.

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