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ucl talk on Plato

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  • 1. The Musical Structure Of Platos dialogues

2. Part IIntroduction and Overview 3. Platos Forms, Pythagorean Mathematics,and Stichometry, Apeiron, 2010 The Musical Structure of Platos Dialogues,Acumen, forthcoming, Spring 2011 Online debate Anticipations 4. Main Claims Plato was stichometrist (hexameter lines) Symbolic Passages Mark Locations (3/4, 2/3) Embedded Musical Scale Explains Narrative Structure of Dialogues Afnity with Pythagoreanism 5. Structure in Symp. Embedded scale: 12 notes with quarternotes Passages about harmony mark the notes Theory of Relative Consonance: explainsnarrative structure 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 are consonant; 5, 7, 10, 11 aredissonant -- content varies accordingly 6. Music/Math Terms Btwn Notes 2,3: Histogram (Resp) 7. Symbols in Frame Recollected episode ends at 1/4: scale usedas outline Laws: music is harmony of fast/slow (tempo)and of high/ low (pitch) At each quarter-tone: motion and harmonybetween 8. Part IIContext, Evidence, Methodology 9. Historical Context Stichometry routine in classical period (Ohly) Pythagoreans known for symbolism (Burkert) Circles around Socrates Debate Symbolism Derveni Papyrus: guide to symbolism 10. Plausibility Arguments Aporetic Endings: What is Platos view? Problem of Platonic Anonymity Reports in Academy of Platos Pythagoreanism Many followers say Plato is symbolic writer: neo-Pythagoreans, neo-Platonists, Ficino Evidence that Theon/Thrasyllus saw musicalstructure 11. Motivation Symbolism, Allegory is common Platonism: Forms beneath Appearances Pythagoreans were persecuted? Secrecy is normal (reserve, Burkert) 12. Line Counting Stephanus Pages Irregular Classical Texts: no spaces, punctuation, etc. Strip out everything, count Greek letters My counts conrmed by Fitzpatrick, who willmake software available 13. Lines of Evidence Lengths of Set Speeches (Symp, Phaedrus) Total Lengths of Dialogues Similar Concepts at Parallel Locations Bands of Positive, Negative Content: 8/12--9/12 versus 10/12 -- 11/12 MSPD: close reading of notes in Symp. 14. Part IIIMusical Structure 15. Symbolic Passages At regular intervals Each twelfth: 1/12, 2/12 ... Each quarter-interval: 1/12 +1/4 ... Other signicant locations : sevenths ... Well-known Division of the Canon (Theon) 16. Genus of a Species Forms are general similarities: colour = red,blue, yellow ... Each passage describes a species Symp: harmony, Euthyphro: epistemicassertion Regular pattern is a musical scale 17. Harmony in Symp. Unity: monoeides Form of Beauty, 9.0 Coupling with beauty, 8.0 Fusion of two lovers, 4.3 Theory of musical harmony, 3.2 Dissonance: Alcibiades pain of rejection bySocrates, 11.0 18. Conclusion 19. Why not detected? Need to know maths, music theory Anti-allegory turn in Reformation, invention ofneo-Platonism Plato worked hard to conceal Spensers mathematical allegories not founduntil Seventies 20. Implications Textual Studies: measure integrity of texts Musicology: new evidence on theory,monochord History of Platonism, Pythagoreanism History of Science