Acousmatic » automatically accuse

“The term acousmatic dates back to Pythagoras, who would lecture to students from behind a screen so that visual information would not distract them from his speech.”

“Referring to Pythagorean disciples who for years listened to his lectures from behind a curtain, unable to see him.”


A Missing Link in a Split Culture, Dénes Nagy, Visual Mathematics, Volume 1, Number 2, 1999.


“Originally the Pythagorean school had a very strong hierarchy with two groups of members, the akousmatikoi, the "listeners", and the mathêmatikoi, the "learned disciples" who were allowed to put questions and discuss their views. (The verb akouein, "to hear", is also the root of the modern expression "acoustic", while manthanein means "to learn".) Following the Pythagoreans' growing interest in numbers and geometrical figures, the word mathêma gained a new meaning beyond "something learned" and became associated with a new field of study: mathêmatikê or, in neutral plural form, mathêmatika.”