Didymus the Musician

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Didymus the Musician was a music theorist in Rome of the end of the 1st century BC or beginning of the 1st century AD, who combined elements of earlier theoretical approaches with an appreciation of the aspect of performance. Formerly assumed to be identical with the Alexandrian grammarian and lexicographer Didymus Chalcenterus, because Ptolemy and Porphyry referred to him as Didymus ho mousikos (the musician), classical scholars now believe that this Didymus was a younger grammarian and musician working in Rome at the time of Nero (Richter 2001). According to Andrew Barker (1994,[page needed]), his intention was to revive and produce contemporary performances of the music of Greek antiquity. The syntonic comma of 81/80 is sometimes called the comma of Didymus after him (Richter 2001).

Among his works was On the Difference between the Aristoxenians and the Pythagoreans (Περὶ τῆς διαφορᾶς τῶν Ἀριστοξενείων τε καὶ Πυθαγορείων).


  • Barker, Andrew, Greek Musicologists in the Roman Empire, in Timothy D. Barnes (ed.), The Sciences in Greco-Roman Society, Aperion: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 27.4 (December 1994).
  • Richter, Lukas. 2001. "Didymus [Didymos ho mousikos]". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.