Ps. Plutarch, De musica. A history of oral tradition of ancient Greek music

TitlePs. Plutarch, De musica. A history of oral tradition of ancient Greek music
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPöhlmann, E
Ancient AuthorsPseudo-Plutarchus Biogr., Phil. (TLG 0094), Aristides Quintilianus Mus. (TLG 2054), Aristoteles et Corpus Aristotelicum Phil. (TLG 0086), Plato Phil. (TLG 0059), Glaucus Hist. (TLG 4391), Heraclides Ponticus Phil. (TLG 1409), Aristoxenus Mus. (TLG 0088)
JournalQuaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica
Volumen.s. 99

The history of Ancient Greek music from Homer to the late 5th century is musical history without musical notation, which was invented about 450 BC. It is puzzling that De musica of Ps. Plutarch, a treatise of the 2. to the 3. century A.D., does not use notation like De musica of Aristides Quintilianus, a nearly contemporary treatise. This may be explained by the sources of Ps.-Plutarch, namely Glaucus of Regium, Heraclides Ponticus, Plato, Aristotle and Aristoxenos, which covering the time from the 5. to the 3. century not use the notation, but also by the intention of De musica and its sources, which is the wish to display subtleties of Ancient music, which cannot be written down by the current notation. Therefore De musica can be read as a history of oral tradition of Ancient Greek Music. []


Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 2011, n.s. 99.3 includes the papers delivered during the International Seminar "Poesia, canto e accompagnamento strumentale nel De musica attribuito a Plutarco" (Università della Calabria, 26-28 Novembre 2009).


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