XXXI. (103) “Now this Jubal,” says Moses, “is the father who showed men the use of the psaltery and of the Harp.”{45}{#ge 4:21.} He in the strictest consistency with nature calls distinctly uttered language the father of music and of all the instruments used in music; for nature, having given the organ of voice to animals as the first and most perfect of organs, afterwards gave to this organ all the harmonies, and all the different kinds of melodies, in order that it might be a previously made model for those organs which are hereafter to be made by art. (104) And as he made an ear spherical, fashioning lesser circles in their greater ones and framing it as in a lathe, with the object of preventing the sounds of the voice which come from without from being wasted and dissipated, so that the voice when collected together and closely packed within the circle might, by a sort of diffusion of the power of hearing, be poured over the different channels of the principal part. And this immediately served as a model for those theatres which are found in handsome cities; so that the shape of a theatre is skilfully dictated by the mechanism of the ear. So also, nature, which formed animals, stretching the rough artery like a musical canon, and wearing beneath the harmonic and chromatic and diatonic kinds of sounds, according to the innumerable variations of combined and separated melodies, made a model in accordance with which every musical instrument might be made.

XXXII. (105) Perhaps, at all events, flutes and lyres, and similar instruments which utter melodies, are as far inferior to the music of nightingales or swans as a thing made after a model, and an imitation must be from the archetypal model, or a perishable species from an imperishable genus; for it is not fitting to compare the music of man with that of any other animal, since it has an especial privilege with which it is honoured, namely, articulate distinctness of speaking; (106) for all other animals, having a broken utterance in their voice, by this and by an incessant change of tones alone give pleasure to our ears. But man, being furnished by nature with the means not only of speaking but also of singing articulately, charms both the sense of hearing and the mind, soothing the one with his song and influencing the other with ideas; (107) for, as an instrument, if it be given into the hands of a man who has no skill as a musician, is inharmonious, but if given to a musician it becomes harmonious according to the skill that is in him. So in the same manner speech, when put in motion by a worthless mind, is inharmonious; but, when it is put in motion by a virtuous mind, it is found to be very melodious. (108) A lyre, indeed, or any similar instrument, if it be not struck by some one, is silent; and speech, too, if it be not struck by the principal part, that is to say, the mind, is of necessity tranquil. And, again, as musical instruments are transposed and adapted to an infinite number of mixtures of airs, so also speech corresponds to them, becoming an interpreter of things; (109) for who would converse in a similar manner with parents and children, being by nature the slave of the one, and by birth the master of the others? And who, again, would talk in the same manner to brothers or cousins; or, in short, to near and to distant relations? Who, again, could do so to friends and to strangers, to fellow citizens and to foreigners, though there may be no great difference in point of fortune, or nature, or age between them? For one must behave differently while associating with an old man and with a young one; and, again, with a man of high reputation and a humble man, with a servant and a master; and, again, with a woman and a man, and with an illiterate and a clever man. (110) And why need one cite an incredible variety of persons to whom speech varies itself, so as at one time to assume one character and at another time another? For it would not interpret great things and small, numerous things and rare, private and public matters, sacred and profane affairs, or old and new events in the same manner; but would use, in each case, language appropriate to the number, or importance, or magnitude of the affairs under discussion; at one time elevating itself to a lofty style, and at another time, on the contrary, confining and humbling itself. (111) But as circumstances and persons give varieties to speech, so also do the causes of things and the manner in which they are done; and, moreover, those points especially with which everything is concerned, namely, time and place. Very beautifully, therefore, is he who inclines voices, namely Jubal, called “the father of the psaltery and of the harp,” from a portion of the whole science of music, as has been shown already.