Aristotle and Musicologists on Three Functions of Music: A Note on Pol. 8, 1341b40-1

Title Aristotle and Musicologists on Three Functions of Music: A Note on Pol. 8, 1341b40-1
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDestrée, P
Ancient AuthorsAristoteles et Corpus Aristotelicum Phil. (TLG 0086)
JournalGreek and Roman Musical Studies
Volume5
Issue1
Pagination35-42
Abstract

In Pol. 8, we find two rather different threefold divisions of the aims, or usages, of music. At the very beginning of his analysis, Aristotle first lists (1339a11-26): amusement and relaxation; moral education; leisure . Strikingly enough though, when it comes up again at the end of the treatise on musical education, this threefold division has undergone a few remarkable changes. Now, the division comes up between moral education, emotional purgation/purification, and “thirdly”, Aristotle says, “leisure, rest and relaxation of one’s tensions (τρίτον δὲ πρὸς διαγωγὴν πρὸς ἄνεσίν τε καὶ πρὸς τὴν τῆς συντονίας ἀνάπαυσιν)” (1341b36-41). The main difficulty that this new enumeration creates is notable: how to explain that now the third aim of music seems to consist in the ensemble of leisure, repose and relaxation, while lei