Aristotle Politics On The Masculine Journey

Aristotle in Politics notes that Music is for the stage of youth, for young persons will not, if they can help, endure anything which is not sweetened by pleasure, and music has a natural sweetness. The Classical and church Father's literature is agreed that music was a feminine practice and that it tends to effeminate men. Therefore, if you want to put your young men on a masculine journey you will not involve them in tribal rituals and musical performance believing that by their sight and sound they have the power to move people into the presence of God.

Aristotle notes that if music is to be employed for refined enjoyment and entertainment; why need people learn to perform themselves instead of enjoying music played by others? And we may consider the conception that we have about the gods: Zeus does not sing and harp to the poets himself. Aristotle discusses the relative merits of teaching children with music.


BOOK 8

[1337a] and it is proper to follow the division of nature, for all art and education aim at filling up nature's deficiencies.

First therefore we must consider whether some regulation in regard to the boys ought to be instituted, next whether it is advantageous for their supervision to be conducted on a public footing or in a private manner as is done at present in most states, and thirdly of what particular nature this supervision ought to be.

[1337b] and nothing is agreed as regards the exercise conducive to virtue, for, to start with, all men do not honor the same virtue, so that they naturally hold different opinions in regard to training in virtue.

It is therefore not difficult to see that the young must be taught those useful arts that are indispensably necessary; but it is clear that they should not be taught all the useful arts, those pursuits that are liberal being kept distinct from those that are illiberal, and that they must participate in such among the useful arts as will not render the person who participates in them vulgar.

A task and also an art or a science must be deemed vulgar if it renders the body or soul or mind of free men useless for the employments and actions of virtue.

Hence we entitle vulgar all such arts as deteriorate the condition of the body, and also the industries that earn wages; for they make the mind preoccupied and degraded. And even with the liberal sciences, although it is not illiberal to take part in some of them up to a point, to devote oneself to them too assiduously and carefully is liable to have the injurious results specified. Also it makes much difference what object one has in view in a pursuit or study; if one follows it for the sake of oneself or one's friends, or on moral grounds, it is not illiberal,

but the man who follows the same pursuit because of other people would often appear to be acting in a menial and servile manner.

The branches of study at present established fall into both classes, as was said before. There are perhaps four customary subjects of education, reading and writing, gymnastics, music, and fourth, with some people, drawing; reading and writing and drawing being taught as being useful for the purposes of life and very serviceable,

and gymnastics as contributing to manly courage;

but as to music, here one might raise a question. For at present most people take part in it for the sake of pleasure;

but those, who originally included it in education did so because, as has often been said, nature itself seeks to be able not only to engage rightly in business but also to occupy leisure nobly;

for--to speak about it yet again --this is the first principle of all things.

For if although both business and leisure are necessary, yet leisure is more desirable and more fully an end than business, we must inquire what is the proper occupation of leisure.

For assuredly it should not be employed in play, since it would follow that play is our end in life. But if this is impossible, and sports should rather be employed in our times of business (for a man who is at work needs rest, and rest is the object of play, while business is accompanied by toil and exertion), it follows that in introducing sports we must watch the right opportunity for their employment, since we are applying them to serve as medicine; for the activity of play is a relaxation of the soul, and serves as recreation because of its pleasantness.

[1338a] Later in Politics, Aristotle notes "But leisure seems itself to contain pleasure and happiness and felicity of life. And this is not possessed by the busy but by the leisured; for the busy man busies himself for the sake of some end as not being in his possession,

but happiness is an end achieved, which all men think is accompanied by pleasure and not by pain.

But all men do not go on to define this pleasure in the same way, but according to their various natures and to their own characters, and the pleasure with which the best man thinks that happiness is conjoined is the best pleasure and the one arising from the noblest sources.

So that it is clear that some subjects must be learnt and acquired merely with a view to the pleasure in their pursuit,

and that these studies and these branches of learning are ends in themselves,
while the forms of learning related to
business are studied as necessary and as means to other things.

Hence our predecessors included music in education not as a necessity (for there is nothing necessary about, nor as useful (in the way in which reading and writing are useful for business and for household management and for acquiring learning and for many pursuits of civil life, while drawing also seems to be useful in making us better judges of the works of artists),

nor yet again as we pursue gymnastics, for the sake of health and strength (for we do not see either of these things produced as a result of music);

it remains therefore that it is useful as a pastime in leisure, which is evidently the purpose for which people actually introduce it,

for they rank it as a form of pastime that they think proper for free men. For this reason Homer wrote thus:

But him alone,
'Tis meet to summon to the festal banquet;
and after these words he speaks of certain others
Who call the
bard that he may gladden all.

And also in other verses Odysseus says that this is the best pastime, when, as men are enjoying good cheer,

The banqueters, seated in order due ristotle politics, masculine journey,
Throughout the hall, may hear a minstrel sing, notes Aristotle

It is clear therefore that there is a form of education in which boys should be trained not because it is useful or necessary but as being liberal and noble; though whether there is one such subject of education or several, and what these are and how they are to be pursued, must be discussed later, but as it is we have made this much progress on the way, that we have some testimony even from the ancients, derived from the courses of education which they founded--for the point is proved by music. And it is also clear that some of the useful subjects as well ought to be studied by the young not only because of their utility, like the study of reading and writing, but also because they may lead on to many other branches of knowledge; and similarly they should study drawing not in order that they may not go wrong in their private purchases and may avoid being cheated in buying and selling furniture,

(1339a) Aristotle then observes that "for there is no small proof that too severe training can produce this result in the fact that in the list of Olympic victors one would only find two or three persons who have won both as men and as boys,

because when people go into training in youth the severe exercises rob them of their strength.
But when they have spent three years after puberty upon their other studies, then it is suitable to occupy the next period of life with laborious exercises and strict training diet;

for it is wrong to work hard with the mind and the body at the same time; for it is the nature of the two different sorts of exertion to produce opposite effects, bodily toil impeding the development of the mind and mental toil that of the body.

About music on the other hand we have previously raised some questions in the course of our argument, but it is well to take them up again and carry them further now, in order that this may give the key so to speak for the principles which one might advance in pronouncing about it.

For it is not easy to say precisely what potency it possesses, nor yet for the sake of what object one should participate in it--whether

1. for amusement and relaxation, as one indulges in sleep and deep drinking (for these in themselves are not serious pursuits but merely pleasant, and 'relax our care,' as Euripides says;

owing to which people actually class music with them and (sleep and deep drinking) employ all of these things, sleep, deep drinking and music, in the same way,

and they also place dancing in the same class); (Aristotle isn't kind)

2. or whether we ought rather to think that music tends in some degree to virtue (music being capable of producing a certain quality of character just as gymnastics are capable of producing a certain quality of body,

music accustoming men to be able to rejoice rightly);

3. or that it contributes something to intellectual entertainment and culture (for this must be set down as a third alternative among those mentioned).

Now it is not difficult to see that one must not make amusement the object of the education of the young;

for amusement does not go with learning--learning is a painful process.

Nor yet moreover is it suitable to assign intellectual entertainment to boys and to the young; for a thing that is an end does not belong to anything that is imperfect.

But perhaps it might be thought that the serious pursuits of boys are for the sake of amusement when they have grown up to be men. But, if something of this sort is the case, why should the young need to learn this accomplishment themselves, and not, like the Persian and Median kings, participate in the pleasure and the education of music by means of others performing it?

for those who have made music a business and profession must necessarily perform better than those who practise only long enough to learn.

But if it is proper for them to labor at accomplishments of this sort, then it would also be right for them to prepare the dishes of an elaborate cuisine; but this is absurd. And the same difficulty also arises as to the question whether learning music can improve their characters; for why should they learn to perform edifying music themselves,

[1339b] Instead of learning to enjoy it rightly and be able to judge it when they hear others performing, as the Spartans do? for the Spartans although they do not learn to perform can nevertheless judge good and bad music correctly, so it is said. And the same argument applies also

if music is to be employed for refined enjoyment and entertainment; why need people learn to perform themselves instead of enjoying music played by others?

And we may consider the conception that we have about the gods: Zeus does not sing and harp to the poets himself.

But professional musicians we speak of as vulgar people,
and indeed we think it
not manly to perform music,
except when
drunk or for fun, notsistotle
"But perhaps these points will have to be considered afterwards; our first inquiry is whether music ought not or ought to be included in education, and what is its efficacy among the three uses of it that have been discussed--does it serve for education or amusement or entertainment?
It is reasonable to reckon it under all of these heads, and it appears to participate in them all.

Amusement is for the sake of relaxation, and relaxation must necessarily be pleasant, for it is a way of curing the pain due to laborious work;

also entertainment ought admittedly to be not only honorable but also pleasant, for happiness is derived from both honor and pleasure; but we all pronounce music to be one of the pleasantest things, whether instrumental or instrumental and vocal music together, at least

Musaeus says, 'Song is man's sweetest joy,' and that is why people with good reason introduce it at parties and entertainments, for its exhilarating effect,

so that for this reason also one might suppose that the younger men ought to be educated in music.

(Note: It has been said that drama or any of the theatrical arts "work because we know that it isn't true." That is, the more we fail at our true goal the more likely we are to pursue music and theater. Even in worship, if we understand Scripture correctly, music is both the cause and the symptom of failure.{[See Job 21; Amos 5, 6, 18; Isaiah 5 and Ezekiel 33}. Making "religion" a pleasure rather than a devotion is a play worship as at Mount Sinai and David's removal of the Ark from God's presence)

For all harmless pleasures are not only suitable for the ultimate object but also for relaxation; and as

it but rarely happens for men to reach their ultimate object, whereas they often relax and pursue amusement
not so much with some ulterior object but
because of the pleasure of it,

it would be serviceable to let them relax at intervals in the pleasures derived from music. But it has come about that men make amusements an end;

for the end also perhaps contains a certain pleasure, but not any ordinary pleasure,
and seeking this they take the other as
being this because it has a certain
resemblance to the achievement of the end of their undertakings
.

For the end is desirable not for the sake of anything that will result from it, and also pleasures of the sort under consideration

are not desirable for the sake of some future result,
but because of things that have happened already,

for instance labor and pain. One might then perhaps assume this to be the reason which causes men to seek to procure happiness by means of those pleasures;

but in the case of taking part in music, this is not because of this reason only, but also because performing music is useful, as it seems, for relaxation. But nevertheless we must examine whether it is not the case that, although this has come about,

[1340a] yet the nature of music is more honorable than corresponds with the employment of it mentioned, and it is proper not only to participate in the common pleasure that springs from it, which is perceptible to everybody (for the pleasure contained in music is of a natural kind, owing to which the use of it is dear to those of all ages and characters),

but to see if its influence reaches also in a manner to the character and to the soul. And this would clearly be the case if we are affected in our characters in a certain manner by it.

But it is clear that we are affected in a certain manner, both by many other kinds of music and not least by the melodies of Olympus; for these admittedly make our souls enthusiastic, and enthusiasm is an affection of the character of the soul.

And moreover everybody when listening to imitations
is thrown into a corresponding state of feeling
,

even apart from the rhythms and tunes themselves. And since it is the case that music is one of the things that give pleasure, and that virtue has to do with feeling delight and love and hatred rightly, there is obviously nothing that it is more needful to learn and become habituated to than to judge correctly and to delight in virtuous characters and noble actions;

but rhythms and melodies contain representations of anger and mildness, and also of courage and temperance and all their opposites and the other moral qualities, that most closely correspond to the true natures of these qualities (and this is clear from the facts of what occurs--when we listen to such representations we change in our soul);

and habituation in feeling pain and delight at representations of reality is close to feeling them towards actual reality (for example,

if a man delights in beholding the statue of somebody for no other reason than because of its actual form, the actual sight of the person whose statue he beholds must also of necessity give him pleasure);

and it is the case that whereas the other objects of sensation contain no representation of character, for example the objects of touch and taste (though the objects of sight do so slightly, for there are forms that represent character, but only to a small extent, and not all men participate in visual perception of such qualities;

also visual works of art are not representations of character but rather the forms and colors produced are mere indications of character, and these indications are only bodily sensations during the emotions; not but what in so far as there is a difference even in regard to the observation of these indications, the young must not look at the works of Pauson but those of Polygnotus, and of any other moral painter or sculptor),

pieces of music on the contrary do actually contain in them selves imitations of character; and this is manifest, for even in the nature of the mere melodies there are differences,

so that people when hearing them are affected differently and have not the same feelings in regard to each of them, but listen to some in a more mournful and restrained state,

[1340b] for instance the mode called Mixolydian, and to others in a softer state of mind, but in a midway state and with the greatest composure to another,

as the Dorian mode alone of tunes seems to act,
while the Phrygian makes men enthusiastic
;

for these things are well stated by those who have studied this form of education, as they derive the evidence for their theories from the actual facts of experience. And the same holds good about the rhythms also, for some have a more stable and

others a more emotional character,
and of the latter some are more vulgar in their emotional effects and others more liberal.

From these considerations therefore it is plain that music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it.

Also education in music is well adapted to the youthful nature;

for the young owing to their youth ristotle politics, masculine journey,

cannot endure any thing not sweetened by pleasure, and music is by nature a thing that has a pleasant sweetness.

And we seem to have a certain affinity with tunes and rhythms; owing to which many wise men say either that the soul is a harmony or that it has harmony. We ought now to decide the question raised earlier, whether the young ought to learn music by singing and playing themselves or not

It is not difficult to see that it makes a great difference in the process of acquiring a certain quality whether one takes a part in the actions that impart it oneself; for it is a thing that is impossible, or difficult, to become a good judge of performances if one has not taken part in them.

At the same time also boys must have some occupation, and one must think Archytas's rattle a good invention,

which people give to children in order that while occupied with this
they may not break any of the furniture; for young things cannot keep still.

Whereas then a rattle is a suitable occupation for infant children, education serves as a rattle for young people when older. Such considerations therefore prove that children should be trained in music so as actually to take part in its performance; and it is not difficult to distinguish what is suitable and unsuitable for various ages, and to refute those who assert that the practice of music is vulgar.

For first, inasmuch as it is necessary to take part in the performances for the sake of judging them, it is therefore proper for the pupils when young actually to engage in the performances,

though when they get older they should be released from performing, but be able to judge what is beautiful and enjoy it rightly because of the study in which they engaged in their youth.

Then as to the objection raised by some people that music makes people vulgar, it is not difficult to solve it

by considering how far pupils who are being educated with a view to civic virtue
should take part
in the actual performance of music,

[1341a] and in what times and what rhythms they should take part, and also what kinds of instruments should be used in their studies, as this naturally makes a difference. For the solution of the objection depends upon these points, as it is quite possible that some modes of music do produce the result mentioned.

It is manifest therefore that the study of music must not place a hindrance in the way of subsequent activities,

nor vulgarize the bodily frame and make it useless for the exercises of the soldier and the citizen, either for their practical pursuit now or for their scientific study later on.

And this would come about in respect of their study if the pupils did not go on toiling at the exercises that aim at professional competitions, nor the wonderful and elaborate performances which have now entered into the competitions and have passed from the competitions into education, but also only practised exercises not of that sort until they are able to enjoy beautiful tunes and rhythms,

and not merely the charm common to all music,
which even some lower animals enjoy
, as well as a multitude of slaves and children.

And it is also clear from these considerations what sort of instruments they should use. Flutes must not be introduced into education, nor any other professional instrument, such as the harp or any other of that sort,

but such instruments as will make them attentive pupils either at their musical training or in their other lessons. Moreover the flute is not a moralizing but rather an exciting influence, so that it ought to be used for occasions of the kind at which attendance has the effect of purification (charismatic ecstasy) rather than instruction.

And let us add that the flute happens to possess the additional property telling against its use in education that playing it prevents the employment of speech.

(Note: Aristotle perfectly describes the post WWII experience. After winning the war people felt invulnerable to any disaster. When the "perfect fifties" came about, churches went to the extreme to denounce the old music and compose secular music and employ musical instruments. Music forbidden by the popes in 1906 were relaxed in the mid fifties. The neo-pentecostal movement was not far behind as churches adopted black jazz (sex act) Rock and worse from the experience of black slaves trying to break free)

Hence former ages rightly rejected its use by the young and the free, although at first they had employed it. For as they came to have more leisure because of their wealth and grew more high-spirited and valorous, both at a still earlier date and

because after the Persian Wars they were filled with pride as a result of their achievements,
they began to engage in all branches of learning, making no distinction but pursuing research further. Because of this they even included flute-playing
among their studies;

for in Sparta a certain chorus-leader played the flute to his chorus himself, and at Athens it became so fashionable that almost the majority of freemen went in for flute-playing, as is shown by the tablet erected by Thrasippus after having provided the chorus for Ecphantides.

[A wealthy citizen who undertook the duty of equipping and training a chorus for a religious celebration (especially the production of a drama at Athens) usually had an assistant of lower station to supply the instrumental music. The office of choregus is not elsewhere referred to as existing at Sparta.]

But later on it came to be disapproved of as a result of actual experience,

when men were more capable of judging what music conduced to virtue and what did not;

and similarly also many of the old instruments were disapproved of, like the pectis and the barbitos and the instruments designed to give pleasure to those who hear people playing them, the septangle, the triangle and the sambyc, [1341b] and all the instruments that require manual skill.

(Note: Making and playing musical instruments to enhance singing is defined as a work clarified by the Greek word for melody)

And indeed there is a reasonable foundation for the story that was told by the ancients about the flute. The tale goes that Athena found a flute and threw it away. Now it is not a bad point in the story that the goddess did this out of annoyance because of the ugly distortion of her features; but as a matter of fact it is more likely that it was

because education in flute-playing has no effect on the intelligence, whereas we attribute science and art to Athena.

And since we reject professional education in the instruments and in performance [or: 'reject, some instruments and professional education in performance.'] (and we count performance in competitions as professional,

for the performer does not take part in it for his own improvement, but for his hearers' pleasure, and that a vulgar pleasure, owing to which

We do not consider performing to be proper for free men, but somewhat menial; and indeed performers do become vulgar, since the object at which they aim is a low one, as vulgarity in the audience usually influences the music,

so that it imparts to the artists who practise it with a view to suit the audience a special kind of personality, and also

of bodily frame because of the movements required)--we must therefore give some consideration to tunes and rhythms, and to the question whether for educational purposes we must employ all the tunes and all the rhythms or make distinctions; and next, whether for those who are working at music for education we shall lay down the same regulation, or ought we to establish some other third one (inasmuch as we see that the factors in music are melody and rhythm, and it is important to notice what influence each of these has upon education), and whether we are to prefer music with a good melody or music with a good rhythm.

Now we consider that much is well said on these matters by some of the musicians of the present day and by some of those engaged in philosophy who happen to be experienced in musical education, and we will abandon the precise discussion as to each of these matters for any who wish it to seek it from those teachers, while for the present let us lay down general principles, merely stating the outlines of the subjects. And since we accept the classification of melodies made by some philosophers, (Aristotle then classifies)

as ethical melodies
melodies of action
, and ristotle politics, masculine journey,
passionate
melodies, ristotle politics, masculine journey,

distributing the various harmonies among these classes as being in nature akin to one or the other, and as we say that music ought to be employed not for the purpose of one benefit that it confers but on account of several (for it serves the purpose both of education and of purgation--the term purgation we use for the present without explanation, but we will return to discuss the meaning that we give to it more explicitly in our treatise on poetry--and thirdly it serves for amusement, serving to relax our tension and to give rest from it),

(Note: In the following session Aristotle may give rise to a new species of preachers and musical worshippers. They lament the fact that the songs (in the official song book with little Biblical content) are moderate harmonies composed and suited to the old decadent and deliterious thought of the rural generation. On the other hand, what they call "worship" should use music which exhilarates and must be composed for the mor intelligent urban worshippers.)

[1342a] it is clear that we should employ all the harmonies, yet not employ them all in the same way, but

use the most ethical ones for education, and
the active and passionate
kinds for listening to when others are performing
(for any experience that occurs violently in some souls is found in all,
though with different degrees of intensity--for example pity and fear, and also religious excitement
;

for some persons are very liable to this form of emotion, and under the influence of sacred music we see these people, when they use tunes that violently arouse the soul

being thrown into a state as if they had received medicinal treatment and taken a purge;

(Note: Contrary to the Biblical demand of Ephesians 5:18 and Colossians 3:16, "religious music" never teaches any Words of Christ in a coherent fashion. To the contrary, religious music {like Cowboy music in the movies} is calculated to evoke emotional feelings)

the same experience then must come also to the compassionate and the timid and the other emotional people generally in such degree as befalls each individual of these classes, and all must undergo a purgation and a pleasant feeling of relief;

and similarly also the purgative melodies afford harmless delight to people).

Therefore those who go in for theatrical music must be set to compete in harmonies and melodies of this kind (and since the audience is of two classes,

one freemen and educated people, and the other
the vulgar
(slaves or uneducated) class composed of mechanics and laborers and other such persons, the latter sort also must be assigned competitions and shows for relaxation; and
just as their souls are warped from the natural state,
so those harmonies and melodies that are highly strung and irregular in coloration are deviations
,

(Note: See our article on the harmful effect of "religious" or "mood" music on probably half of the "audience."

but people of each sort receive pleasure from what is naturally suited to them, owing to which the competitors before an audience of this sort must be allowed to employ some such kind of music as this);

but for education, as has been said, the ethical class of melodies and of harmonies must be employed.

And of that nature is the Dorian mode (manly or non-exciting), as we said before ; but we must also accept any other mode that those who take part in the pursuit of philosophy and in musical education may recommend to us.

Socrates in the Republic does not do well in allowing only the Phrygian mode along with the Dorian, and that when he has rejected the flute among instruments;

Note: Now Rhea, as Ceres, in Hymn XIV, is called 'brass-sounding' and 'drum-beating'. This has reference to the mystical results of certain sounds and rhythm, part and parcel of what the Hindus call Mantravidy‚. I remember reading a curious old French book in the BibliothŤque de la Ville of Clermont-Ferrand, one of the books confiscated from the Minime Monastery of the same town, at the time of the Revolution.

This work dealt with the magical properties of music, and described for what especial purposes the various instruments of music were used in the Temple-service of the Jews. (Note: Remember that the Jews had rejected God's direct rule and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations.)

Now Iamblichus (De Mysteriis, III.ix) goes into the matter of the so-called Corybantic and Bacchic 'frenzies' produced by musical instruments in the Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus; and in his Life of Pythagoras (xxv) he, further, tells us that: '

The whole Pythagoric school went through a course of musical training, both in harmony and touch, whereby, by means of appropriate chants, they beneficially converted the dispositions of the soul to contrary emotions.

For, before they retired to rest, they purified their minds of the [mental, says Quintilian] confusion and noises of the day, by certain songs and peculiar chants, and so prepared for themselves peaceful repose with either few or pleasant dreams. And again, when they rose from sleep, they freed themselves from drowsiness by songs of another character.

And sometimes by means of melodies without words they cured certain affections and diseases, and this they said was the real means of "charming". And it is most probable that the word "charm" (epode) came into general use from them.

It was thus, then, that Pythagoras established a most salutary system of regenerating the morals by means of "music"

[Mantravidy‚].' (Op. cit. Kiessling's text, pp. 245, 246; see also Taylor, Iamblichus on the Mysteries, 2nd ed., pp. 130, 131, n.) (THE ORPHIC THEOGONY)

(1342b) for the Phrygian mode has the same effect among harmonies as the flute among instruments-

-both are violently exciting and emotional.
This is shown by poetry; for all Bacchiac versification
and all movement of that sort

(Or perhaps bakcheia and kinÍsis denote bodily movement accompanying the song; or they may denote the emotional frenzy expressed and stimulated by it. The dithyramb was a form of poetry of this class, originally celebrating the birth of Dionysus. Philoxenus, one of the most famous dithyrambic poets, 435-380 B.C., lived at Athens, and later at the court of Dionysius of Syracuse.)

belongs particularly to the flute among the instruments, and these meters find their suitable accompaniment in tunes in the Phrygian mode among the harmonies: for example the dithyramb is admittedly held to be a Phrygian meter, and the experts on this subject adduce many instances to prove this, particularly the fact that

Philoxenus when he attempted to compose a dithyramb, The Mysians, in the Dorian mode was unable to do so, but merely by the force of nature fell back again into the suitable harmony, the Phrygian.

And all agree that the Dorian mode is more sedate and of a specially manly character. Moreover since we praise and say that we ought to pursue the mean between extremes, and the Dorian mode has this nature in relation to the other harmonies,

it is clear that it suits the younger pupils to be educated rather in the Dorian (This isn't Jazz, Rap or Rock) melodies. But there are two objects to aim at, the possible as well as the suitable; for we are bound rather to attempt the things that are possible and those that are suitable for the particular class of people concerned; and in these matters also there are dividing lines drawn by the ages--for instance,

those whose powers have waned through lapse of time
cannot easily sing the highly strung harmonies
, but to persons of that age nature suggests the relaxed harmonies.


(Note: Joke from Diodorus with a contemporary warning against questioning the annointed ones)

Among the poets in his (Dionysius') company was Philoxenus the writer of dithyrambs, who enjoyed very high repute as a composer in his own line. After dinner, when the compositions of the tyrant, which were wretched, had been read, he was asked what was his judgement of the poetry. When he replied with a good deal of frankness, the tyrant, offended at his words, found fault with him that he had been moved by jealousy to use scurrilous language and commanded his servants to drag him off forthwith to the quarries.

On the next day, however, when Philoxenus' friends made petition for a grant of pardon, Dionysius made up with him and again included the same men in his company after dinner. As the drinking advanced, again Dionysius boasted of the poetry he had written, recited some lines which he considered to be happily composed, and then asked, "What do you think of the verses?" To this Philoxenus said not a word, but called Dionysius' servants and ordered them to take him away to the quarries.

Therefore some musical experts also rightly criticize Socrates because he disapproved of the relaxed harmonies for amusement, taking them to have the character of intoxication,

not in the sense of the effect of strong drink, for that clearly has more the result of making men frenzied revellers, but as failing in power. Aristotle, Aristotle,

Hence even with a view to the period of life that is to follow, that of the comparatively old, it is proper to engage in the harmonies and melodies of this kind too, and also any kind of harmony that is suited to the age of boyhood because it is capable of being at once decorous and educative, which seems to be the nature of the Lydian mode most of all the harmonies. It is clear therefore that we should lay down these three canons to guide education, moderation, possibility and suitability.

See the comments on Poetics Aristotle,

Comments and notes: Kenneth Sublett

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