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  • Warren Anderson
  •  and Thomas J. Mathiesen


An ancient Greek musical term, describing a concept important in the relationship between ancient Greek music and education.

The term occurs as a noun, ēthos, from Homer onwards. Its original meaning was ‘accustomed place’; Hesiod first used it as ‘custom’. With Heraclitus it acquired the added sense of ‘character’, more precisely ‘moral character’, often regarded as the result of habituation. When the term is used in English transliteration, ‘ethos’, with reference to ancient Greek music, the last-named meaning should be understood. Ethos should be taken as an attribute not merely of persons but also of musical phenomena, which are then considered as vehicles for conveying ethical attitudes, not as having any kind of moral nature in themselves....

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Musical Quarterly
Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters
Journal of Musicology
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart