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The Power and Value of Music

Its Effect and Ethos in Classical Authors and Contemporary Music Theory


Andreas Kramarz

Nobody doubts that music has a special, somewhat mysterious power. Less clear is how we can evaluate that power. What makes music good or bad? Are there objective criteria for such a distinction? What impact can or should music have on individuals and on society as a whole? What are the factors responsible for the effect of music? This book summarizes and discusses how authors of classical antiquity addressed these questions on musical «ethos» and how they can be approached from a modern-day perspective.
After systematically assembling and assessing the value-carrying characterizations of music in poetic literature, the author reviews all noteworthy Greek and Latin writings which enlighten musical «ethos» from the theoretical-philosophical perspective. He then carries the intuitions of the ancients into our time by proposing a coherent model to explain the relationship between music, ethos, and emotions based on the results of contemporary research in the disciplines of music psychology and philosophy. The concept of harmony, understood as the appropriate measure or as the balance of opposites and so central to the reflections of the ancient authors, plays a key role in shedding light on the value and impact, both positive and negative, of music in human existence.
This book provides the most comprehensive overview available about the effect and ethos of music in antiquity and discusses many related questions of scholarly interest. It includes numerous references provided in the original language with translation, ample empirical material for further research, and an extensive bibliography.
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Appendix: Synoptic Tables of References


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Synoptic Tables of References

In lieu of an index of citations, the following tables assemble, as completely as possible, all direct references about the ethical impact of music for all the texts cited or referred to in ch. 3 down to Aristides Quintilianus (with cursory references to some of the remaining authors). They allow a comprehensive vision of all functions and effects of music mentioned throughout by the different schools and authors. Some terminological issues will be discussed in a number of footnotes. There is a total of four tables: two for positive value, and two for negative value. For each value, there is a table organized by function and effect, and a second which is grouping together similar vocabulary across the functions. I have tried to arrange the entries in each section as much as possible in a logical order, juxtapositioning similar concepts and thus onward. Within the same concept, entries are in chronological order. I have also sought to combine as many similar references as possible so as to reduce space.

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