Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society (New Series)

Research Article

Οἱ καλούμενοι ἁρμονικοί: The predecessors of Aristoxenus

Andrew Barkera1

a1 University of Warwick

A cursory glance at the reports of the later students of harmonic theory is enough to give a clear if perhaps artificially systematic picture of the character and relations of the major conflicting schools of thought in the first century or so A.D. In the centre of the field are the supposed followers of Aristoxenus, lined up against the forces of the so-called Pythagoreans. Each side is linked with a more or less lunatic fringe; to the right of the Pythagoreans those mathematical extremists who find no place in harmonic studies for αἴσθησις at all, and to the left of the more empirical Aristoxeneans a collection of persons known as ὀργανικοί, whose work, whatever it was, is based wholly in perception and in familiarity with the properties of musical instruments, and who find no place for theory or for the pursuit of the αἰτίαι of harmonic truths.