> Lee McGiffen wrote:
> > What distinguishes Western from Eastern music is harmony. The
> > Eastern system does not lend itself to harmony. Because of
> > the dissonance between notes, notes have to be played
> > sequentially, i.e., one flute or one string at a time. With
> > Western music, thanks to the coincidence of numbers,
> > discovered by Pythagoras, different notes can be played
> > together at the same time, causing resonance. The outcome is
> > the major and minor chords and the basic I-IV-V-I chord
> > progression of Western music from Classical to Rock and/or
> > Roll. Pythagoras rocks!
> Pythagoras studied music, mathematics, astronomy and geometry
> in Egypt. Think he picked up any ideas there?
> Why do you suppose Pythagoras' ideas were adopted so readily
> by Europeans, and not Asians? I mean, his musical discovery
> could just as easily have travelled east as west, but it
My Guess is because China and India already had their own refined musical systems. The earliest written score from China is attributed to Confucious; contemporaneous with Pythagoras.
Pythagoras and Thales both, among the pre-Socratics, traveled to and were thought to be influenced by Egyptian ideas. Even Heraclitus lived not in Greece but Ephesus, his thought may have been prompted by ideas from any number of places.
It's not strictly true that Eastern music has no harmony. It's more precise to say western concepts of harmonic movement - tonic, sub-dominant, dominant Chord progressions and tertiary harmony, ie harmony based on stacked thirds, triad, sixth and ninth chords, etc aren't found. Timbre and phrasing is emphasized, but double and triple stops do occur in China's music and Gamelan is nothing if not shimmering, shifting harmonic suspensions in cross rhythms. Harmony has a different meaning within pentatonic and pelog scales but they all contain fifths or fourths if not both. The very meaning of dissonance in the west is fluid, not that long ago, seventh chords were considered dissonant, today even suspended, diminished and augmented chords are considered perfectly normal, albeit tonally ambiguous.