Pythagoras - Iamblichus's Life - Music and dancing
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Iamblichus’s Life of Pythagoras – Iamblichus [translated by Thomas Taylor]
And he called the medicine which is obtained through music by the name of purification.
But he employed such a melody as this about the vernal season.
For he placed in the middle a certain person who played on the lyre and seated in a circle round him those who were able to sing. And thus, when the person in the centre struck the lyre, those that surrounded him sung certain paeans through which they were seen to be delighted, and to become elegant and orderly in their manners.
But at another time they used music in the place of medicine.
And there are certain melodies devised as remedies against the passions of the soul and also against despondency and lamentation, which Pythagoras invented as things that afford the greatest assistance in these maladies.
And again, he employed other melodies against rage and anger and against every aberration of the soul. There is also another kind of modulation invented as a remedy against desires. He likewise used dancing, but employed the lyre as an instrument for this purpose