People's characters were believed to be very sensitive to music.
If you started playing around with the rules, you know, messing up the mathematical order, you could do serious harm.
That's why music was considered so powerful.
If you knew the rules, it could do great good.
But if you broke them, you could do great harm to the character of the listener.
So, we have this Greek idea that music is directly related to human character and behavior.
The philosopher, Plato, talks about this in the context of education.
For Plato, music is an important element in education, but only the right kind of music—that means the kind of music that builds the kind of character a good citizen or a future leader would need.
Yes. For Plato, there is a kind of music that instills the qualities of leadership, just as there is a kind of music that makes a person soft and weak.
Now, Plato has very specific, very conventional kinds of music in mind.
He is not fond of innovation.
There were musicians in Plato's day who were experimenting with different melodies and rhythms.
A definite no-no for Plato.
He thinks that breaking with tradition leads to all sorts of social problems, serious problems, even the breakdown of the fabric of society.
I am thinking back now to when I first started listening to rock 'n' roll and I remember my father saying it was a bad influence on us.
I think he would have gotten along well with Plato.
Anyway, I don't need to tell you what I think about Plato's ideas about innovation, do I?
Though I have to say it's interesting that the same arguments against new music and art are still being made.
Perhaps like the Greeks, we recognize, and maybe even fear the power of music.