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This the scholar propounded; to which Lysias made reply. Noble Onesicrates, said he, you desire the solution of a hard question, that has been by many already proposed. For of the Platonics the most, of the Peripatetic philosophers the best, have made it their business to compile several treatises concerning the ancient music and the reasons why it came to lose its pristine perfection. Nay, [p. 105] the very grammarians and musicians themselves who arrived to the height of education have expended much time and study upon the same subject, whence has arisen great variety of discording opinions among the several writers. Heraclides in his Compendium of Music asserts, that Amphion, the son of Jupiter and Antiope, was the first that invented playing on the harp and lyric poesy, being first instructed by his father; which is confirmed by a small manuscript, preserved in the city of Sicyon, wherein is set down a catalogue of the priests, poets, and musicians of Argos. In the same age, he tells us, Linus the Euboean composed several elegies; Anthes of Anthedon in Boeotia was the first author of hymns, and Pierus of Pieria the first that wrote in the praise of the Muses. Philammon also, the Delphian, set forth in verse a poem in honor of the nativity of Latona, Diana, and Apollo, and was the first that instituted dancing about the temple of Delphi. Thamyras, of Thracian extraction, had the best voice and the neatest manner of singing of any of his time; so that the poets feigned him to be a contender with the Muses. He is said to have described in a poem the Titans' war against the Gods. There was also Demodocus the Corcyraean, who is said to have written the Destruction of Troy, and the Nuptials of Vulcan and Venus; and then Phemius of Ithaca composed a poem, entitled The Return of those who came back with Agamemnon from Troy. Not that any of these stories before cited were compiled in a style like prose without metre; they were rather like the poems of Stesichorus and other ancient lyric poets, who composed in heroic verse and added a musical accompaniment. The same Heraclides writes that Terpander, the first that instituted the lyric nomes, 1 set verses of Homer as well as his [p. 106] own to music according to each of these nomes, and sang them at public trials of skill. He also was the first to give names to the lyric nomes. In imitation of Terpander, Clonas, an elegiac and epic poet, first instituted nomes for flute-music, and also the songs called Prosodia.2 And Polymnestus the Colophonian in later times used the same measure in his compositions.

1 According to K. O. Müller (History of Greek Literature, Chap. XII § 4), the nomes were ‘musical compositions of great simplicity and severity, something resembling the most ancient melodies of our church music.’ (G.)

2 Προσόδια were songs sung to the music of flutes by processions, as they marched to temples or altars; hence, songs of supplication. (G.)

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