While at times Socrates discussed music and its elementsspecifically, it is important to note that the Greek term
encompassed both what would presently be considered music proper aswell as the literary and oratory traditions of poetry andstorytelling. However, Socrates made it clear in his dialogues thatmusic and poetry, for his purposes, were inextricably tied to oneanother, comprised a singular discipline, and should intend to servethe same function. The philosopher sought to defin
e music’s proper
place in society and in the life of the individual, and attempted toestablish a clear set of standards and rules that every musician wouldbe bound to. According to Socrates,
was not only a crucialcomponent of education, but of a just and harmonious life, and thespiritual well-being of the individual and society at large. So inorder for poets, musicians, and storytellers to serve their properfunction in society, Socrates believed that they were required topractice their craft within certain limits, to be set by the lawmakersand enforced by the people or their guardians.Socrates claimed that the primary function of music was ineducation.
was the term for the systematic training ofchildren in liberal subjects, ideally drawing the youth towards virtueand reason, as judged by the eldest and best of the rulingaristocracy.
was one of two crucial disciplines that made upthe
, the other being
meaning physical training,dance, and athletics.
Warren D. Anderson.
Ethos and Education in Greek Music: The Evidence of Poetry and Philosophy.
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 92.