Thursday, January 20, 2011

Music, Architecture, and War

As students, we kept reading that architecture was like music. Rhythm, sure, column spacings/note spacings... I got that one. But I couldn't see other obvious similarities.

Then, right there in Vitruvius, there it was again: an architect should understand music. Then Vitruvius explained why:

When tightening the twisted ropes that propel a war catapult, the architect can twang those ropes and recognize the musical note that sings "tight enough!"

So if I study music, do I get my own catapult?

* A footnote: architects used to do a lot of designing for war - forts, castles, catapults... My favorite such story is of the New Orleans architect/pirate who was pardoned from hanging in order to design forts for the War of 1812. More another day.

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