Aristotle, On Things Heard

LCL 307: 50-51

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800 aΤὰς δὲ φωνὰς ἁπάσας συμβαίνει γίγνεσθαι καὶ τοὺς ψόφους ἢ τῶν σωμάτων ἢ τοῦ ἀέρος πρὸς τὰ σώματα προσπίπτοντος, οὐ τῷ τὸν ἀέρα σχηματίζεσθαι, καθάπερ οἴονταί τινες, ἀλλὰ τῷ κινεῖσθαι 5παραπλησίως αὐτὸν συστελλόμενον καὶ ἐκτεινόμενον καὶ καταλαμβανόμενον, ἔτι δὲ συγκρούοντα διὰ τὰς τοῦ πνεύματος καὶ τῶν χορδῶν γιγνομένας πληγάς. ὅταν γὰρ τὸν ἐφεξῆς ἀέρα πλήξῃ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐμπῖπτον αὐτῷ, ὁ ἀὴρ ἤδη φέρεται βίᾳ, τὸν ἐχόμενον αὑτοῦ προωθῶν ὁμοίως, ὥστε 10πάντῃ τὴν φωνὴν διατείνειν τὴν αὐτήν, ἐφ᾿ ὅσον συμβαίνει γίγνεσθαι καὶ τοῦ ἀέρος τὴν κίνησιν. διαχεῖται γὰρ ἐπὶ πλέονα ἡ βία τῆς κινήσεως αὐτοῦ γιγνομένης, ὥσπερ καὶ τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀπὸ τῶν ποταμῶν καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς χώρας ἀποπνέοντα. τῶν δὲ φωνῶν τυφλαὶ μέν εἰσι καὶ νεφώδεις ὅσαι 15τυγχάνουσιν αὐτοῦ καταπεπνιγμέναι· λαμπραὶ δὲ οὖσαι πόρρω διατείνουσι, καὶ πάντα πληροῦσι τὸν συνεχῆ τόπον.

Ἀναπνέομεν δὲ τὸν μὲν ἀέρα πάντες τὸν αὐτόν, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα καὶ τὰς φωνὰς ἐκπέμπομεν ἀλλοίας διὰ τὰς τῶν ὑποκειμένων ἀγγείων διαφοράς, δι᾿ ὧν 20ἑκάστου τὸ πνεῦμα περαιοῦται πρὸς τὸν ἔξω τόπον. ταῦτα δέ ἐστιν ἥ τε ἀρτηρία καὶ ὁ πνεύμων καὶ


On Things Heard

On Things Heard

All voices and in fact all sounds arise either from The production of sound. bodies falling on bodies, or from air falling on bodies; it is not due to the air taking on a shape as some think, but to it being moved in the same way as bodies, by contraction, expansion and compression, and also by knocking together owing to the striking of the breath and by musical strings. For when the breath that falls on it strikes the air with successive blows, the air is immediately moved violently, thrusting forward the air next to it, so that the same sound stretches in every direction, as far as the movement of the air extends. For the violence of the movement extends beyond its own range, just as breezes do, which arise both from rivers and from the land. But those sounds are faint and fogged which are throttled down; when they are clear they stretch a long way and fill all space which is continuous.

We all breathe the same air, but we emit different Differences of voice. sounds owing to the difference of the organs involved, through which the breath passes to the region outside. These are the windpipe, the lung and the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-things_heard.1936