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date: 26 January 2021

Aristides Quintilianuslocked

  • Andrew Barker

Extract

Aristides Quintilianus (3rd cent. ce ?), author of a lost Poetics and an ambitious De musica. Musical issues are classified as theoretical (‘technical’ and ‘physical’) and practical. Book 1 (technical) expounds harmonics, rhythmics, and metrics, mainly from Aristoxenian sources (see aristoxenus), incorporating valuable material otherwise unknown. Book 2 (practical) discusses music's educational and psychotherapeutic uses with verve and style, ingeniously integrating older ideas (some attributed to *Damon (2)) with engaging reflections of Aristides' own, notably on solmization and on the *soul. Book 3 (physical), exploiting Pythagorean harmonic analyses, links musical phenomena through numerology, mathematics, and natural science with the overall structure of reality. The work is impressively detailed, and unified, despite inconsistencies, by a near-Neoplatonist vision (see neoplatonism) of cosmos, soul, and music as manifestations of a single divine order. See music §§ 5–6.

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