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date: 12 November 2019


  • Annie Bélis


(b Tarentum, Magna Graecia, c375–360 bce; d ?Athens). Greek music theorist, philosopher and writer. According to the Suda he was the son of a musician called Mnesias or Spintharus who gave him his early musical education. It is not known to which philosophical or musical school Mnesias belonged, but he may have been one of the Pythagoreans whose political influence had been dominant in Magna Graecia, particularly in Tarentum, with which Archytas had long been associated. Mnesias could have known a number of prominent figures both in Magna Graecia and in Athens: the musicians Archytas, Damon and Philoxenus, as well as Socrates and perhaps even the Theban general Epaminondas. Aristoxenus himself followed the teachings of Lamprus of Erythrae, and then, in Athens, of Xenophilus the Pythagorean. He spent most of his life in Greece. A fragment of one of his works indicates that he lived for some time at Mantinea in Arcadia, where music, which was held in high esteem, was subject to the kind of conservative laws that appealed to his austerity and love of ancient traditions....

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Journal of Musicology