previous next
[1341a] [1] 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.1 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 [20] 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 rather than instruction.2 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. 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,3 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.4 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 barbitos5 and the instruments designed to give pleasure to those who hear people playing them,6 the septangle, the triangle and the sambyc,7

1 It is difficult not to think that either the nouns or the adverbs in the Greek have been erroneously transposed, and that we should translate ‘either for learning them now or for practising them later on.’

2 See 1341a 33 ff.

3 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.

4 Ecphantides was one of the earliest comic poets; Thrasippus is not elsewhere recorded. Who the flute-player was is unknown.

5 These were old-fashioned forms of the lyre.

6 A possible emendation of the Greek gives ‘those who listen to their modulations.’

7 Three different stringed instruments, the last having four strings stretched in a triangular frame.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1957)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Athens (Greece) (1)
Athens (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: