The Music of Olympus

Andrew Barker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The semi-legendary Phrygian aulete and composer Olympus figures prominently in the Plutarchan De musica. This paper considers what we are told about the whole corpus of compositions which, according to the writer's sources, were those of Olympus. I shall not treat these reports as reliable evidence about music from the period of Olympus, but as evidence about the music that was believed to be his by the 5th and 4th-century sources on which the Plutarchan writer drew. Other sources show that music attributed to Olympus was still performed and well known in Greece in those centuries. The final part of the paper comments on some of the other reports we have about Olympus' music from this period (principally from Plato and Aristotle), and offers a hypothesis about which of the compositions mentioned in the De musica are likely to have been the ones that attracted these writers' attention.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-57
    Number of pages15
    JournalQuaderni Urbinati Di Cultura Classica
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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