), or PHRYNIS (Φρῦνις
), a celebrated dithyrambic poet, of the time of the Peloponnesian war, was a native of Mytilene, but flourished at Athens. His father's name seems to have been Camon, or Cambon, but the true form is very doubtful. Respecting his own name, also, there is a doubt, but the form Phrynnis is the genuine Aeolic form.
He belonged to the Lesbian school of citharoedic music, having been instructed by Aristocleitus, a musician of the time of the Persian wars, who claimed a lineal descent from Terpander.
Before receiving the instructions of this musician, Phrynnis had been a flute-player, which may partly account for the liberties he took with the music of the cithara. His innovations, effeminacies, and frigidness are repeatedly attacked by the comic poets, especially Pherecrates (apud Plut. de Mus.
p. 1146; Meineke, Frog. Com. Graec.
vol. ii. p. 326, &c.) and Aristophanes (Aristoph. Cl. 971
, comp. Schol.
). Among the innovations which he is said to have made, was the addition of two strings to the heptachord; and Plutarch relates that, when he went to Sparta, the Ephors cut off two of his nine strings, only leaving him the choice, whether he would sacrifice the two lowest or the two highest.
The whole story, however, is doubtful; for it is not improbable that the number of strings had been increased at an earlier period. (For a fuller discussion of his musical innovations, see Schmidt, Ditliyramb.
Phrynnis was the first who gained the victory in the musical contests established by Pericles, in connection with the Panathenaic festival (Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. l.c.
), probably in B. C. 445 (Müller, Gesch. d. Griech. Litt.
vol. ii. p. 286).
He was one of the instructors of Timotheus, who, however, defeated him on one occasion. (Müller, l.c.