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Olympus, by the report of Aristoxenus, is supposed by the musicians to have been the inventor of the enharmonic species of music; for before him there was no other than the diatonic and chromatic. And it is thought that the invention of the enharmonic species was thus brought [p. 111] to pass:1 for that Olympus before altogether composing and playing in the diatonic species, and having frequent occasion to shift to the diatonic parhypate, sometimes from the paramese and sometimes from the mese, skipping the diatonic lichanos, he found the beauty that appeared in the new character; and thus, admiring a conjunction or scheme so agreeable to proportion, he made this new species in the Doric mood. For now he held no longer to what belonged either to the diatonic or to the chromatic, but he was already come to the enharmonic. And the first foundations of enharmonic music which he laid were these: in enharmonics the first thing that appears is the spondiasmus,2 to which none of the divisions of the tetrachord seems properly to belong, unless any one will take the more intense spondiasmus to be diatonic. But he that maintained this would maintain a falsehood and an absurdity in harmony; a falsehood, because it would be less by a diesis than is required by the leading note; an absurdity in harmony, because, even if we should place the proper nature of the [p. 112] more intense spondiasmus in the simple chromatic, it would then come to pass, that two double tones would follow in order, the one compounded, the other uncompounded. For the thick enharmonic now used in the middle notes does not seem to be the invention of the fore-mentioned author. But this is more easily understood by hearing any musician play in the ancient style; for then you shall find the semi-tone in the middle parts to be uncompounded.

These were the beginnings of enharmonic music; afterwards the semitone was also divided, as well in the Phrygian as Lydian moods. But Olympus seems to have advanced music by producing something never known or heard of before, and to have gained to himself the honor of being the most excellent, not only in the Grecian but in all other music.

1 The relations of the enharmonic scale to the ordinary diatonic are thus stated by Westphal (pp. 124–126), b being here substituted for the German h:

The δ inserted between e and f and between b and c is called diesis, and represents a quarter-tone. The section in Westphal containing this scheme will greatly aid the interpretation of § 11 of Plutarch. (G.)

2 This is Volkmann's conjecture for ‘spondee.’ It is defined by him (according to Aristides Quintilianus) as the raising of the tone through three dieses (or quartertones). (G.)

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