Antiphon the Sophist 

Joshua Suh
Pomona ‘23

Antiphon the Sophist, a pre socratic philosopher born ca. 480 BCE, wrote in his work The Tetralogies, three imaginary judicial trials and wrote speeches representing both sides. These works masterfully employed the use of the Protagorean concept, antilogic, which dealt with the idea that within any kind of case or scenario there are two mutually opposed sides you can take. It deals with the concept of persuasion and how one makes their own cases stronger and more convincing. Taking inspiration from Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question I decided to use this concept of antilogic, spurred on from Antiphon’s writings, to present a question that two parties attempt to answer. For those more musically inclined, it is an antiphonal piece (call and response) that incorporates polymodality between the G Lydian, G Dorian, and G Locrian modes. You have the universe silently playing in the background as two voices take turns trying to answer the one question. Do any one of the two succeed in their attempts at persuasion? What is the question ultimately being asked? Who or what are these voices supposed to represent? I encourage those, especially other musicians, to pick apart this piece, look for easter eggs and references, and ask questions that may help you come towards a conclusion.