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Headword: Ῥυθμός
Adler number: rho,288
Translated headword: rhythmos, rhythm
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning a] regular arrangement of a consistent scale, pleasant-sounding tune, pattern.
Rhythm [is] the father of measure;[1] and [note] that the teaching of meters and rhythms [is] ancient.[2]
"He bids the girl pipers to play some foreign rhythm."[3]
[Note][4] that rhythm differs from measure in that rhythm is more generic, and measure is a species of rhythm, for rhythm is observed even in those stomping their hands and feet. Whenever the quick and slow lifting and settling down of the feet are arranged in relation to one another rhythm arises, and hence from the alternation of lifting and settling, such and such arrangement[s] of syllables, which we consider for the production of meters, are called 'feet.' And, in the case of auloi and other such instruments, rhythm is said to be the pattern of time during which movement takes place. Of the holes in the auloi, some [the players] cover with their fingers for a longer time, and others for a shorter time. In this way they get longer and shorter sounds. Moreover, some of the holes are bigger, and some smaller, and some holes are located nearer to the vibrator on the tongue,[5] and some farther away. The narrower holes are higher [in pitch] than the wider ones.[6] (Accordingly, both the voices of children and those of women are higher.) The wider holes are deeper. Likewise, the holes nearer are higher than the farther ones. Harmony and song come from the pattern of these holes, and rhythm from the arrangement of speed and slowness. To be sure, rhythm in other matters is characterized by short and slow. Rhythm in verbal expression acts according to long and short which alone is said to be meter. Those characteristics are observed not only in poetic texts but also in rhetorical ones.
Greek Original:
Ῥυθμός: τάξις ἔμμελος ἀκολούθου ἁρμονίας, μέλος εὔφωνον, σύγκρισις. πατὴρ μέτρου ῥυθμός: καὶ ὅτι ἀρχαία ἡ τῶν μέτρων καὶ ῥυθμῶν διδασκαλία. ὁ δὲ τὰς αὐλητρίδας κελεύει ῥυθμόν τινα βαρβαρικὸν ἐπαυλῆσαί οἱ. ὅτι διαφέρει ῥυθμὸς μέτρου, τῷ τὸν μὲν γενικώτερον εἶναι, τὸ δὲ μέτρον ὑπάρχειν εἶδος τοῦ ῥυθμοῦ: θεωρεῖται γὰρ ὁ ῥυθμὸς καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν κροτούντων ταῖς χερσὶ καὶ τοῖς ποσίν. ὅταν γὰρ ἡ ταχεῖα καὶ βραδεῖα τῶν ποδῶν ἄρσις καὶ θέσις λόγον ἔχωσι πρὸς ἄλληλα, ῥυθμὸς γίνεται, καὶ ἐντεῦθεν ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τούτων ἡ τοιάδε τῶν συλλαβῶν συμπλοκή, ἣν παραλαμβάνομεν πρὸς τὴν τῶν μέτρων γένεσιν, πόδες ἐκλήθησαν. καὶ ἐπὶ αὐλῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν τοιούτων ὁ ῥυθμὸς λέγεται, συμμετρία ὢν τοῦ χρόνου ἐν ᾧ ἡ κίνησις γίνεται. καὶ γὰρ τῶν τρημάτων τῶν αὐλῶν τὰ μὲν ἐπὶ πλείονα χρόνον τοῖς δακτύλοις ἐπιπωμάζουσι, τὰ δὲ ἐπ' ἐλάττονα, καὶ οὕτω τῶν ἀπηχήσεων τὴν μὲν μακροτέραν ποιοῦσι, τὴν δὲ βραχυτέραν. καὶ ἔτι τῶν τρημάτων τὰ μὲν μείζονά εἰσι, τὰ δὲ ἐλάττονα, καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐγγυτέρω τῆς ἐπιγλωττίδος, τὰ δὲ πορρωτέρω. καὶ τὰ μὲν στενότερα ὀξύτερά ἐστι τῶν εὐρυτέρων: διὸ καὶ αἱ τῶν παίδων φωναὶ καὶ αἱ τῶν γυναικῶν ὀξύτεραι: τὰ δὲ εὐρύτερα βραδύτερα, ὁμοίως καὶ τὰ ἐγγυτέρω τῶν πορρωτέρω ὀξύτερα: ὧν τῇ συμμετρίᾳ ἡ ἁρμονία καὶ τὸ μέλος γίνεται, ῥυθμὸς δὲ τῇ τοῦ ταχέος καὶ βραδέος. ὁ μὲν οὖν ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ῥυθμὸς κατὰ τὸ βραχὺ καὶ βραδὺ χαρακτηρίζεται, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ προφορικοῦ λόγου κατὰ τὸ μακρὸν καὶ βραχύ, ὅσπερ καὶ μέτρον μόνος λέγεται. οὐκ ἐπὶ τῶν ποιητικῶν δὲ λόγων ταῦτα μόνον θεωρεῖται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ῥητορικῶν.
[1] Likewise or similarly in other lexica; references at Photius rho175 Theodoridis. (Every flow of sounds does not constitute rhythm, but the flow must be present to be divided into a recurring consistent arrangement or measure.)
[2] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Clouds 638.
[3] Quotation (transmitted, in Adler's view, via the Excerpta Constantini Porphyrogeniti) unidentifiable. For auloi, double-reed instrumentts often mistranslated 'flutes', see under alpha 4447.
[4] John Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle's de anima 376.6.30 Hayduck.
[5] The term glotta (tongue) is 'used to describe the part of the mouthpiece on which the breath acts to create sound' (Mathiesen 203). The glotta may be cut lengthwise on two sides and across the end nearest the player's lips. This creates a flap that vibrates and can be manipulated by the player. Alternately, a thin strip of wood may be attached over the slot with a waxen thread. The Suda calls this vibrator the epiglottis or 'the on-the-tongue thing.' This usage is not in LSJ. For the reed of the aulos see Mathiesen 201 Figure 23.
[6] Aristoxenus strenuously objects to the theory that the pitch of an aulos depends upon the boring of holes as though harmony derives from the instrument itself: 'If someone thinks that he sees the holes being the same each day or the chords stretched the same, for this reason he will find harmony abiding and preserving the same arrangement, he is utterly fatuous, for there is no harmony in chords unless the player makes harmony through the skill of his hands upon them and in the same way, there is none in the holes unless a player confers it by skill of hand' (Elements of Harmony 2.42.31-43.5). Aristotle accepts the theory (On Things Heard 800b20-801a10).
Thomas J. Mathiesen. Apollo’s Lyre: Greek Music and Musical Theory in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1999
Keywords: biography; children; comedy; definition; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; imagery; meter and music; philosophy; poetry; rhetoric; trade and manufacture; women
Translated by: Wm. Blake Tyrrell on 19 September 2005@20:55:00.
Vetted by:
Elizabeth Vandiver (Added italics; cosmetics; set status) on 21 September 2005@18:11:38.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 25 September 2005@05:30:49.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 6 October 2005@10:14:43.
David Whitehead (augmented and tweaked notes; more keywords; cosmetics; raised status) on 30 October 2013@06:42:03.
David Whitehead (coding) on 25 May 2016@07:37:56.


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