Aeschylus see Tragedy.

Al-Farabi ninth-century AD philosopher whose Great Book of Music shows engagement in the Arabic world with ancient Greek music theory and philosophy.

Aristotle A major fourth-century BC Greek philosopher and disciple of Plato who wrote in his Politics and Poetics about the role of music in society.

Aristoxenus A disaffected student of Aristotle and an ex-Pythagorean, Aristoxenus made the most complete systematic effort to date in the fourth century BC to define the Greek theory of harmony and rhythm. These efforts are preserved, although not completely, in his Elementa Harmonica and Elementa Rhythmica.

Athenaeus Greek writer of the late 100s and early 200s AD whose Deipnosophistae (Learned Banqueters or Sophists at Dinner) contains lengthy meditations on music which preserve views from earlier scholars including Aristoxenus.

Aulos The most common type of ancient pipe. Usually found in the plural, auloi, these pipes were played in pairs and accompanied (among other things) the music of drama.

Barbitos A long stringed instrument, deeper in tone than the kithara or lura, sometimes associated with revelry and Dionysiac frenzy. Often pictured in the hands of satyrs or other raucous characters, but also associated with some Archaic lyric poets.

Boethius Philosopher of the late Roman empire whose On the Fundamentals of Music gives an example of how Greek musical theory and philosophy found its way into later writings and was preserved into modernity.

Cicero Roman statesman, orator, and amateur philosopher of the late Roman republic whose interest in Plato and Pythagoreanism led him to record various reflections on harmony and so provide an example of Roman interest in Greek music.

City Dionysia see Dionysia.

Damon of Athens A 5th-century BC sophist, or public intellectual, whose teaching and research were focused on rhythmic forms and (perhaps) the emotional associations they evoked.

DionysiaA major festival, held every year, at which music contests were staged in Athens and tragedies were performed in trilogy.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1st-century BC literary scholar, historian, and essayist whose notes on style include key pointers on the pronunciation, accentuation, and rhythmic patterning of the Greek language.

Euripides See Tragedy.

Hydraulis An elaborate and probably quite rare manually operated water-organ – the details of its construction are recorded by Vitruvius .

Kithara An ornate stringed instrument largely used by professional performers and competitors.

Krotala An ancient form of ‘clapper’ or ‘castanet’ held in the hand and used for percussion.

Lasus of Hermione A celebrated sixth-century BC musician and early music theorist who came to Athens at the invitation and under the patronage of Hipparchus, son of Peisistratus. He is known for having written down the first-ever Greek book on music, which does not survive.

Lura See Lyre.

Lydia An ancient kingdom in the west of Asia Minor (now Turkey) which existed from around 1200 to 546 BC and with which early (Archaic) Greek musicians likely shared many techniques and practices.

Lyre Though this word is sometimes used as a generic term for Greek stringed instruments, it actually translates the Greek lura, which in its most technical usage applies only to the most basic form of stringed instrument.

Mousikē The Greek art or arts presided over by the Muses (Mousai). Though it included the arts now called ‘music’ and ‘dance’ in English, mousikē was a broader term also designating such things as mathematics and philosophy.

Music of the Spheres The array of philosophical ideas, many of them Platonic or Pythagorean, which combined in antiquity and afterwards to create a vision of music as interwoven into the entire cosmos and the human soul.

New Music (the) Modern term for an ancient phenomenon in the second half of the 5th century BC. Musicians such as Timotheus of Miletus and Phrynis of Mytilene (as well as tragedians such as Euripides) experimented with modulation and melodic innovation which elite commentators such as Plato found distasteful.

Orestes A tragedy by Euripides (performed in 408 BC) from which some strains of choral music are preserved on papyrus.

Panathenaic Games A regular festival which, after Peisistratus revitalized it around 566 BC, took place every four years and included major musical competitions.

Phrynis of Mytilene A famous kitharode (ca. 450-420 BC) who performed in Athens and was well-known as a practitioner of the “New Music” which experimented with modulations, melodic runs, and other deviations from compositional tradition.

Plato A major Greek philosopher (ca. 429-347 BC) whose work on music (much of it adopted from Pythagoreans) in dialogues such as the RepublicLaches, and Timaeus records some important ancient attitudes toward music’s emotional power and place in society.

Plutarch 1st-century AD essayist and biographer who preserves a number of anecdotes about major figures in Greek and Roman history.

Peisistratus A 6th-century BC Athenian ruler who seized total control of the city-state, reorganized the Panathenaic Games (in 566 BC) and City Dionysia (in 534/531) and made other efforts to unify Athens and consolidate its reputation as a major Mediterranean power.

Psaltērion A triangular harp with strings of unequal length. Possibly originating in Lydia, these were one of the more frequently used stringed instruments after the LyreKithara, and Barbitos.

Pythagoras A mystic, scholar, and philosopher from the 6th century BC who wrote nothing down, but whose followers contributed much to the mathematics of harmony and the philosophy of cosmic music.

Sophists A group of public intellectuals who were hugely influential and important during the 5th century BC in Athens. Their work mostly does not survive, but it was the backdrop against which much of the philosophy which does survive was formulated.

Sophocles See Tragedy.

Terpander A semi-legendary kithara-player credited with (among other things) winning the first-ever kithara competitions at Sparta’s Carneia festival.

Timotheus of Miletus A fifth-century BC composer who was known in Athens for his transgressive experiments with melody and instrumentation. He may have collaborated with Euripides.

Tragedy A form of musical theatre for which Athens was known and in which it hosted competitions every year at the Dionysia. The three major writers of tragedy whose work survives in the present day are (in chronological order) Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

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