The Ethical and Moral Qualities of Music in Ancient Greece
David Eaton discusses music as a moral and ethical force in society stating that music is more powerful than language as it has the capability to move the very consciousness of the person (Eaton, 2000). The attitude of music in different ancient cultures seem to indicate that it was imperative for the music creators to actually exercise and built in their compositions the same sense of ethics and morality that was pervasive in their society (Eaton, 2000). In China, Egypt, Greece and India especially music was a culture and hence, it was seen to contribute to either the reinforcement or the corruption of their respective civilizations.
In Greek, Music and its influential were understood very well. Most Greek theories and philosophies were indeed built around music. The nature of the music and the cosmic order were held by Greek theorists, the Greeks believed that they had a powerful effect on their people. The basic structures of musical compositions were seen to be built from complex scientific principles such as Pythagoras’ scientific principles and the ethical postulates of Plato and Aristotle.
Plato for instance denotes music as having interconnected aspects. Melody and poetry had internal depths and so did man. The music composition disciplined men. Where melody and poetry were seen as one and the same, there was a union of words. Here the spoken word and music was considered as one. So the spoken word was to be harmonious and ethical too. The union of these words meant that there should be correct declaration of text. Basic characteristics of music therefore carried the sense of morality in everyday life.