Question Nr. 39

There is a cycle one finds in ancient societies that as a society becomes prosperous performing music is given over to slaves rather than the educated person. This results in passages such as the following in Plutarch’s Life of Pericles:

It was not said amis by Antisthenes, when people told him that one Ismenias was an excellent oboe [aulos] player, “It may be so,” he said, “but he is but a wretched human being, otherwise he would not have been an excellent oboe player.”

This question one finds frequently throughout the middle ages and beyond as well: Can a bad man make good music? Today, in one form or another, this question is present.

The important question today is a moral one: Do we take the total experience of the student/listener into consideration with respect to the music we present our students?

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