- Jon Solomon
Greek music theorist. He was the author of a primer of ancient Greek music theory, the Introduction to Harmonics (Eisagōgē harmonikē). Cleonides’ name appears on only ten medieval manuscript versions of the Introduction. Many manuscripts attribute the work to Euclid or Pappus, but the Pythagorean approach of these authors is incompatible with the Aristoxenian music theory assumed by the writer of the treatise. A few manuscripts ascribe the work to a certain ‘Zosimus’ or avoid attribution entirely. Based on internal evidence, the writing of the treatise can be dated only to some time during the period between the 3rd century bce and the 4th century ce; however, a date after the 1st century bce, when treatises with the word eisagōgē in their titles begin to appear, seems likely.
Cleonides’ 800-word treatise offers the clearest introduction to the harmonic system synthesized by Aristoxenus (c300 bce). After defining harmonics as ‘the theoretical and practical science of the nature of harmony, harmony being that which is composed of both notes and intervals having some regular arrangement’, the ...