Selections from Republic (Grube-Reeve translation)
III.398c - 3:
Nonetheless, I said, you know that, in the first place, a song consists of three elements--words, harmonic mode, and rhythm.
Yes, I do know that.
As as far as words are concerned, they are no different in songs than they are when not set to music, so musn't they conform in the same way to the patterns we established just now?
Further, the mode and rhythm must fit the words.
And we said that we no longer needed dirges and lamentations among our words.
We did, indeed.
What are the lamenting modes, then? You tell me, since you're musical.
The mixo-Lydian, the syntono-Lydian, and some others of that sort.
Aren't they to be excluded, then? They're useless even to decent women, let alone to men.
III.399e - 400e:
Then let's purify the rest. The next topic after musical modes is the regulation of meter. We shouldn't strive to have either subtlety or great variety in meter. Rather, we should try
to discover what are the rhythms of someone who leas an orderedand courageouslife and then adapt the meter and the tune to his words, not his words to them. .....
But you can discern, can't you, that grace and gracelesseness follow good and bad rhythm respectively?
Then fine words, harmony, grace, and rhythm follow simplicity of character--and I do not mean this in the sense in which we use "simplicity" as a euphemism for "simple-mindedness"--but I mean
the sort of fine and good character that has developed in accordance with an intelligent plan.
III.401d - 402a:
Aren't these the reasons, Glaucon, that education in music and poetry is most important? First, because rhythm and harmony permeate the inner part of the soul more than anything else,
affecting it most strongly and bringing it grace, so that if someone is properly educated in music and poetry, it makes him graceful, but if not, then the opposite. Second, because
anyone who has been properly educated in music nad poetry will sense it acutely when something has been omitted from a thing and when it hasn't been finely crafted or finely made
by nature. And since he has the right distates, he'll praise fine things, be pleased by them, receive them into his soul, and, being nurtured by them, become fine and good. He'll
rightly object to what is shameful, hating it while he's still young and unable to grasp the reason, but, having been educated in this way, he will welcome the reason when it comes
and recognize it easily because of its kinship with himself.
Yes, I agree that those are the reasons to provide education in music and poetry.
III.411c - 412a:
What about someone who works hard at physical training and eats well but never touches music or philosophy? Isn't he in good physical condition at first, full of resolution and
spirit? And doesn't he become more courageous than he was before?
But what happens if he does nothing else and never associates with the Muse? Doesn't whatever love of learning he might have had in his soul soon become enfeebled, deaf, and blind,
because he never tastes any learning or investigation or partakes of any discussion or any of the rest of music and poetry, to nurture or arouse it?
It does seem to be that way.
I believe that someone like that becomes a hater of reason and of music. He no longer makes any use of persuasion but bulls his way through every situation by force and savagery like
a wild animal, living in ignorance and stupidity without either rhythm or grace.
That's most certainly how he'll live.
It seems, then, that a god has given music and physical training to human beings not, except incidentally, for the body and the soul but for the spirited and wisdom-loving parts of the soul
itslef, in order that these might be in harmony with one another, each being stretched and relaxed to the appropriate degree.
It seems so.
Then the person who achieves the finest blend of music and physical training and impresses it on his soul in the most measured way is the one we'd most correctly call completely harmonious and
trained in music, much more so than the one who merely harmonizes the strings of his instrument.
That's certainly so, Socrates.
Then won't we always need this sort of person as an overseer in our city, Glaucon, if indeed its constitution is to be preserved?
IV.424b - c:
To put it briefly, those in charge must cling to education and see that it isn't corrupted without their noticing it, guarding it against everything. Above all, tehy must guard as carefully as
they can against any innovation in music and poetry or in physical training that is counter to the established order. And they should dread to hear anyone say: People care most for the song That
is newest from the singer's lips. (from the Odyssey i.351-2) Someone might praise such a saying, thinking that the poet meant not new songs but new ways of singing. Such a thing shouldn't be
praised, and the poet shouldn't be taken to have meant it, for the guardians must beware of changing to a new form of music, since it threatens the whole system. As Damon says, and I am convinced, the
musical modes are never changed without change in the most important of a city's laws.
For a narrative outline of Republic, Click here
For full text of Republic, Go here