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Synesis in Aristoxenian Theory

Synesis in Aristoxenian Theory

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American Philological Association
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SYNESISIN ARISTOXENIAN THEORY
FLORA R. LEVINNew York
inmemoriamMiriam W. Hassell
Musicmustbeconceivedbyhumanbeings.Althoughhesoundsofmusicderivemmediatelyromthevibrating tringorthecolumnofair,heorderingftheseoundsntoamelodywhichmoves heistener
is afunctionof thehuman mind.Conceivedbythemind,music
speakso otherminds,whichrecognizenit notmerelyhe soundsofmelodybutrepresentationsfhumanfeelings.Andalthoughonecananalyzepreciselyhephysicalpropertiesf soundandintervalrdissectmeticulouslyheanatomyofmelody,the affectivepowerofmusiceludesobjectiveepresentation.nfact,the morecloselymusicisassimilatedo itsphysicalorm,thefarthersoneremovedrom itssourceandenergy.Therecognitionofthis factisafundamentalachievementfAristoxenus,he fourthcenturyB.C.musicalheorist.Hisepochalontributiono thehistoryofideasconsistsnatheoryof
musicbasedonthenotion
r'r7Ls/LovaKCf
7
V
vEacs,construedhere
tobe"musicalntuition"or"competence,".e.aninherentmentalcapacity omprisingne'smplicitmusicalknowledge.'Formulated
LSJlistavveaLs(:v'veacs)asbeingderivedbyPlato Crat.
412A
fromavvtevat(av'veLiu),cometogether;they givethereceivedetymology,however,asavvir1tul,perceive,apprehend.ApartfromitsuniqueoccurrenceinHom. Od.Io.5I5,whereitdenotes"aunion of thetwoloud-soundingrivers,"avveaLsappearsregularlywithreference to somefacultyofthemind;thus,Arist.ENII43AI3(rOIavOdveLvAEyerat
evvltaal);Plato Crat.41IIA(qpdvr)vals
TE
Kalvvecars);Eur. Her.655(fv'vecs
Kat
ao(qia);
Pind. Nem.7.60(avveav...
.
pevsv);Thuc.1.75
(yvtrs
vvc-coEss);Arist.deAn.
410B3
(v'veaLs
asopposedtoayvola).Itsappearancewith anobjective genitivedenot-ingintelligenceinathing,sagacityinrespecttosomething,asinPlatoCrat.
4I2C(rij
TOV
S&Kalov
avveaet),
isexemplifiedinAristoxenus'construction
1
r7js
JLovarKjS
Sv'vcaS,but the lattercitationisnot included inLSJ.Theglossmother-witornativesagacityforavveaLsas,forexample,inThuc.
I.138
(otKeI'a
vveret),
isamosttellinginstance ofitsreferencetoaninherentknowledge,thesenseinwhich itisused,Ibelieve,byAristoxenus.Ofthe ten occurrences ofSv'veaOsndwvvir'lplntheHarmonics,onlytwo areusedby
 
on thisnotion,histheory,ransmittedo usinthefragmentaryocu-mentknownasHarmonics,2epresentsmore thana"descriptiveanatomy"3f ancientGreekmusic.Itis,beyondthis,Ibelieve,anattemptoaccountorthementalprocessesponsibleor the creation
Aristoxenusinthegeneralsense of"understanding"or"comprehension."H.S.Macran,The HarmonicsofAristoxenus(OxfordI902),accordinglytranslates Harm.3(p.I67):"Furthermore,it is essential toaclearcomprehensionof thesepoints..."[Elsrv
Trov' rTV
'VEav]andHarm.I6(p.176):"When it[adefinition]putshim inthewayofunderstanding[EtsTOevvLevat]thethingdefined." The otherinstancesof
evveass
inAristoxenus' textclearlyrefer to some kind of mentalactivitythatismoresignificantthantheEnglishwords"understanding"and"comprehension"suggest.ThatMacran was aware of acomplexmeaningisapparentfromhisvarietyoftransla-tions,as,forexample:"cognition"(p.189),"apprehension"(p.193),"intellectualapprehension"(p.I95),"intellectualprocess"(p.195).In thispaperIarguethatsynesisfor Aristoxenusis musical intuition. Aristoxenus states at onepoint(Harm.38)
that "roeuvve'vatf melodies consistsntheabilityto follow with the earandintellectwhatistakingplacewithrespecttoitseverydistinction"(my translation).Thisimpliesmorethan mererecognitionorsuperficialunderstandingfmelodiclines;itsuggests,rather,a total musicalcompetence.This constructionsderivedfromthenotion"linguisticcompetence,"or which seeNoamChomsky,Aspects ftheTheoryfSyntax(MITPress,Cambridge1965)4.Theorientation of thispaperis inmanyimportantrespectsnfluencedbythe workofChomskyand modernlinguistics.Thefollowingabbreviationsare used:Jan=C.vonJan,MusiciscriptoresGraeci(Leipzig1895);D=L.Deubner,amblichus,e vitaPythagoricaLeipzig1937);During=I.During, Ptolemy,HarmonicaGoteborg
I930);
Dupuis=J. Dupuis,TheonofSmyrna,Expositiorerummathematicarumdlegendumlatonem tiliumParisI892);Hoche
=
R.Hoche, Nicomachus,ntroductionisrithmeticaeibriI(Leipzig,I865); Winnington-Ingram
=
R. P.Winnington-Ingram,AristidesQuintilianus,emusicaLeipzigI963).2Thetreatisehas comedowntous inthreebooksdesignatednmostoftheMSSbythetitle,"The Harmonic Elements of Aristoxenus."Thatithas beencompiledfrom asmanyasthree or fourworksof the authorhasbeensuggestedbyscholarsnthebasisofvariousnconsistencies,epetitionsand omissionsn its treatmentofthesubject.The first book definesthescopeofharmonicsand itssubsidiaryubjects,hesecondredefinest,establishingheprinciplesarchai)rom whichits lawsarededuced,hethirdcomprisesheoremsandproofsinthemannerofEuclid'sElements,reakingoffabruptlyinthe courseofexaminingthespeciesofafourth.Missingelementsofthetheorymaybe deducedfrommaterialcontainedntreatiseswritten centuries ateras,forexample,Cleonides,IsagogeHarmonike ndGaudentius,Harmonikesagoge,whichpurporttotransmit Aristoxeniandoctrine. Itisnotcertain,however,that thesewritershavehandeddownthetheorywithoutcorruption.Cf.R.P.Winnington-Ingram,Modein AncientGreekMusicCambridge1936)II.Scholarlyopinionon theproblemof thework'slack ofunityand itsprobable compilationfromamultiplicityoftreatises sdiscussedbyMacranabove,notei)89-92.Morerecentlythequestionhas beengivenpenetratinganalysisbyR.daRios,AristoxenilementaHarmonicaRomeI954)who,inthe"Prolegomena"(cvii-cxvii),presentserownwellconsideredhroughtscxvi-cxvii).
3
I.Henderson,"Ancient GreekMusic,"The NewOxfordHistoryofMusic(AncientandOrientalMusic),d. E.Wellesz(LondonI957) 343.
[I972
I2
FLORA R. LEVIN

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