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A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science

Ed. by Wildberg, Christian / Morison, Benjamin

4 Issues per year

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Volume 44, Issue 4 (Jan 2011)


The Structure of Plato's Dialogues and Greek Music Theory: A Response to J. B. Kennedy

John Z. Mckay / Alexander Rehding
Published Online: 2011-10-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron.2011.021


J. B. Kennedy recently proposed a radical new interpretation of the Platonic dialogues, arguing that their stichometric structure is based in a Greek twelve-tone musical scale. We explore to what extent such an interpretation might be borne out historically by Greek music-theoretical traditions: the concept of scale, the significance of number 12 (on which Kennedy's theory is anchored), conceptual differences between Harmonicists and Pythagoreans, and the applicability of Kennedy's scale within the context of Plato's thought. While the statistical correlations Kennedy notes are intriguing, their foundation in Greek music-theoretical traditions proves problematic.

Keywords:: J. B. Kennedy; Greek music; Plato; Pythagoreans; scale

About the article

Published Online: 2011-10-05

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Apeiron, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron.2011.021.

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