On rhythm amd metre Aristoxenus always talks the plainest common sense—which is more than one can say about certain other ancient metricians. On Time, in its rhythmical aspect, he remarks: ‘Time is articulated by each of the three ῥυθμιƷόμενα, λέξις, μέλος and κίνησις σωματική.’ The Greek choral lyric was a triple partnership of poetry, song, and dancing, and Aristoxenus here points out that they share a common rhythm. (He goes on to develop the idea, but that need not concern us here.) We could safely infer for ourselves, even if Plato and Aristotle had not told us, that the music and the dance were far from being merely decorative or casual additions to the poetry. The poetry may have been Queen, as Pratinas maintained, but the philosophers took the other two partners very seriously as ‘imitators’ of moral ideas and the like; and there is every reason to suppose that the dramatists did the same. But writers on Greek Tragedy have had much to say about the λέξις of the odes; nothing about its two partners—for the good reason that we know nothing about them. Yet it does seem possible, here and there, to say a little about the dance. Whether it is worth saying, the reader must judge.
The audience, sitting in the theatre, saw some kind of ordered physical movement in the orchestra as it listened to the singing or chanting of an ode. If in any given case we were asked what this movement was, our only answer is that we cannot possibly tell. Nevertheless, there are moments where we can infer, with more or less probability, the sort of thing that was being done by the dancers, and occasionally—notably in the Agamemnon—this dim and doubtful picture will contribute something to our appreciation of the drama.