22 Jul 2022


Ethos and Music during the Age of Humanism

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Academic level: College

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Ethos can be identified to as the Greek word whose direct meaning is “character”. In this sense, ethos describes the detailed beliefs of an individual or group of people. It is these beliefs that have been used to represent the norms and ideals of the community or nation. According to the ancient Greeks, ethos would be used to identify the music that has the power and capability to influence the emotions of the listeners or in most cases their morals. Through ethos the music will be able to show the moral character of the people who created it. In this way, Aristotle and many of the philosophers of the time believed it was one of the three artistic proofs in rhetoric. These included ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos is thus a mode of persuasion that is evident through moral competence. 

In modern day society, music has become part of daily living whereby children between ages 8-18 are seen to listen to it in numerous audio forms for at least 2.31hrs a day. This is ironical as the same children will rarely be seen taking up music programs in school. The music education is seen to prefer the music teachings of the past and categorically ignore that which the youth would want to create. In the 21 st Century, ethos is barely existent in the music. According to de Cosson (2004) individuals who teach music should deeply consider the aporia created in teaching to establish whether ethos is existent in current music. It is important that the youth are incorporated in music as a means of helping elucidate there motivational, emotional and spiritual factors that they derive from music and into their lives. 

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Why was the 14th century known as the Age of Humanism? 

The 14 th Century is identified as the Age of Humanism as it a point in history where modern man changed numerous aspects of their lifestyle in a bid to focus on human beings. Herein, it identifies the point in the history of modern civilization where there was a rebirth in the cultural practices beginning from Italy and spreading to the Western European countries. The Age of Humanism is identified as a pervasive mode of culture that would revive moral philosophies, culture and literary legacy that was associated with classical antiquity. When the age of humanism kicked off the medieval times were setting where God was the center of every aspect of practice of the modern man. However, this was changed and the focus was turned to human beings. 

The age of humanism brought about the belief that man has great value and hence should be a major focus in considering the numerous practices. Through humanism religion would not dictate the truth that man should abide by instead, reason and experience was used. The philosophers of the time would carry out research as a means of establishing truth. They would use their creative prowess to establish a heritage for the people. According to King (2014), the age of humanism presents a time where patricians would establish themselves in power to take up dominant ranks and ensure the continuity of their ranks. The religion, arts and norms would change making individuals to be judged according to the social ranking in society. 


de Cosson, A. (2004). The hermeneutic dialogic: Finding patterns midst the aporia of the artist/researcher/etacher (rewrite #10 in this context). In Irwin, R.L., and A. de Cosson (Eds.). A/r/tography: Rendering self through arts-based living inquiry. Vancouver, BC: Pacific Educational Press. 

King, M. L. (2014).  Venetian humanism in an age of patrician dominance . Princeton University Press. 

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