Aristoxenus of Tarentum

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Aristoxenus of Tarentum

(ărĭstŏk`sənəs, tərĕn`təm), fl. 4th cent. B.C., pupil of Aristotle. He marks a turning point in Greek musical theory by being the first to base theory on analysis of musical practice. In his two extant treatises, Elements of Rhythm and Elements of Harmony, he systematized Greek music by clear definitions of terms and orderly arrangement of scales.


See H. S. Macran, The Harmonics of Aristoxenus (1902).

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(7) The earliest known source still in existence on Plato's notorious public lecture (possibly lectures) on the good is Aristoxenus (Harm.
(59.) This anecdote is also recorded in Aristoxenus, F38, which might have been Plutarch's source.
Greek theorist Aristoxenus, who emphasized hearing the musical scale intervals over reasoning them through the Pythagorean ratios; had those passages been retained, they would have made Aristoxenus seem like a Greek model of the rogue heroes previously named.
See also Chatman who traces rhythm back to Aristoxenus' definition and treats rhythm in terms of a recurrence of time-intervals in a "proportionate sequence" (18).
According to Aristoxenus of Tarentum, in this year, after a very long journey, Pythagoras returns to Croton and start teaching mathematics and philosophy.
Aristoxenus: Whenever he heard a person who was making use of his symbols, he immediately took him into his circle, and made him a friend.
Italian Renaissance musical theorists were fascinated by the curious, remote musical tenets promulgated by Greek theorists such as Aristoxenus and Ptolemy, and perhaps bewildered by how different their musical theory was to that of contemporary Italian music.
If Aristoxenus' story about Plato's lecture on the Good is true then at some stage, though almost certainly later than when he wrote the Republic, Plato did experience ridicule.
In the fourth century BCE, Aristoxenus wrote that the Pythagoraeans used music to purify the soul, (90) and, in the first century CE, Quintilian, a Roman rhetorician, wrote, 'On awakening, it was the Pythagoreans' custom to arouse their souls with the sound of the lyre, so that they might be more alert for action, and before going to sleep they soothed their minds by means of this same music in order to calm them down, in case too turbulent thoughts might still inhabit them.' (91) In other words, Quintilian, like Ptolemy after him, portrays the Pythagoreans as listening to music every morning in order to prepare their souls for action.
His approach was Aristoxenian in character, though he had no knowledge of the writings of Aristoxenus. Prosdocimo, following the Pythagorean-Boethian tradition, asserts that it is impossible to divide the whole tone (9:8) into any number of equal parts and insists on its traditional division into major and minor semitones (ratios of 2187:2048 and 256:243, respectively).