Music in Ancient Greece and Rome
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Music in Ancient Greece and Rome provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of music from Homeric times to the Roman emperor Hadrian, presented in a concise and user-friendly way. Chapters include:
* contexts in which music played a role
* a detailed discussion of instruments
* an analysis of scales, intervals and tuning
* the principal types of rhythm used
* and an exploration of Greek theories of harmony and acoustics.
Music in Ancient Greece and Rome also contains numerous musical examples, with illustrations of ancient instruments and the methods of playing them.
players: on being told this one, an oboist friend removed the reed from her instrument and, to my great surprise, played it as a trumpet.) In the treatise on acoustics attributed to Aristotle (see p. 138) there are two references to tightening the embouchure, which he calls ‘squeezing Figure 2a.7 Aulos pipes held wide apart 30 THE AULOS the reeds’ (piezein ta zeuge).13 The word zeuge means ‘pairs’ (in the plural), and this must surely mean two double reeds. Many illustrations show an
notes at the end of the volume. I have tried to make the text readable and understandable on its own, should the reader prefer to go through it without consulting the notes. I have also deliberately confined the scope of the references. The great majority are either to source material (and comment thereon) in one or other of Andrew Barker’s excellent volumes (Greek Musical Writings, Vols I and II) or to more extended discussions of various topics in Martin West’s excellent, magisterial and
the whim of musicians or the changing fashions of the time. The Greater Complete System, being a two-octave construction, could be used as a spectrum of notes from which a number of octave segments could be selected, each containing the same intervals but in a different order. In Greek theory each of these scales was called a ‘species of the octave’ (eidos tou dia pason), and each had its own name. Here a problem arises, because four of the names were the same as those which had been applied to
syllable in the third foot has to be extended by the length of a short syllable, which would be shown in musical notation as in Figure 4.3. In order to make do with only two time-values, the time-signature would have to change in the third bar to 3/8, and back again to 2/4 in the fourth bar, which is not easy to accept; but the need for such a change arises entirely from the division into bars. If we can free ourselves from the presumption (it is no more than that) that there ought to be
bar-lines, and see the line as a four-beat line with the last beat syncopated, there is no need for any time-values other than the ‘long’ and the ‘short’. Figure 4.3 Dactylo-epitrite in musical notation 116 MUSIC, WORDS AND RHYTHM We have now encountered most of the basic concepts which are needed in order to make some reasonable guesses (and we can do no more than that) about the rhythms of Greek song as they sounded in performance. A detailed description of all the great variety of