Theory of Music
Harmonics is an obscure and diffuclt musical subject, particularly for those who do not know Greek letters, Vitruvius De architectura
Archytas of Tarentum (Αρχύτας ο Ταραντίνος) (428-350 BC)
Aristoxenos (or Aristoxenus) of Tarentum (Αριστόξενος ο Ταραντίνος)(c. 354 – c. 300 BC) (a student of Aristotle and Xenophilos, philosopher and musicologist, among his many lost books, 3 books Αρμονικά ( Harmonic Elements)) Aristoxenus of Tarentum and the Birth of Musicology, Info
Ptolemaios Claudius or Ptolemy (Πτολεμαίος Κλαύδιος )(180 AD) Αρμονικά , Scientific Method in Ptolemy's Harmonics (PDF)
Manual of Harmonics, Nicomachus the Pythagorean, Flora R. Levin (Translator) , Phanes Press, 1994
Nikomachos (or Nicomachus) of Gerasa (Νικόμαχος ο Γερασηνός) (60 AD) , Αρμονικόν εγχειρίδιον (Handbook of Harmonics)
Cleonides (Κλεονίδης )(2nd to 4th century AD), Isagogi Armoniki (Introduction to Harmonic),
Aristides Quintilianus (Αριστείδης ο Κοϊντιλιανός ) (3rd century AD, Peri Mousikis), (Aristides Quintilianus on Music: In Three Books , Thomas J. Mathiesen (Translator ), Yale University Press 1983)
Alypius (Αλύπιος ) (360 AD Introduction to Music)
and others (Porphyry, Bacchius (Βάκχειος ο γέρων ), Theon of Smyrna...)
Damon, an Athenian philosopher of the late 5th century, “developed the first extensive theory of musical ethos. He named and catalogued a set of modal scales, describing their notes, rhythms and qualities. He also commended and condemned different rhythms and tempi.Damon’s most influential theory of ethos, however, came from his belief that dance and song arose from motions of the soul (Damon 1). In his treatise, he stated the primary tenet of all Greek musical ethics, that “liberal and beautiful songs and dances create a similar soul, and the reverse kind create a reverse kind of soul”According to this theory, music creates motions and patterns in the soul that mirror the quality of the music. Thus, the notes “mold through similarity a nonexistent ethos in children and in those already advanced in age and bring out a latent ethos”For this reason, Damon maintained that music should portray courage, moderation, and justice (Anderson 39). Through this imitation, similar motions would arise in the soul and produce the same qualities in those playing, singing, or listening to the music. Since music, according to Damon, possessed this power, it possessed a large potential for either good or harm to Greek culture.Musical styles are nowhere altered without (changes in) the most important laws of the state” (Anderson 41).He believed this so firmly that he published an essay addressed to the Areopagus Council, the Athenian assembly responsible for judicial functions and public morality, arguing that it was the duty of the state to regulate music and music education (West 246).” Autumn Gurgel Running head: Roots and Theories of the Doctrine of Ethos
Melos : Noun for song – root of Melody
Harmonia : Plutarch says that for Pythagoras and his disciples, the word harmonia meant "octave" in the sense of an atonement which manifests within its limits both the proper fitting together of the concordant intervals, fourth and fifth, and the difference between them, the whole tone.(from The Harmony of Spheres)
Chroma : Color, used for example in chromatic scale
Ode: Lyric poem meant for voice expressing lofty and fervent emotion
Rhapsody: Fragments from the great epics sung by rhapsodists to the kithara.
Some fragments of musical pieces survived
Orestes Stasimo, Chorus Fragment (first stasimon) from Euripides Orestes, Papyrus fragment,
Tecmessa's Lament. 2nd - 3th century (composed for Aeschylus Ajax?), Papyrus Berlin 6870
For more fragments : http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agm/index.htm
Death of Orpheus
470/50 BC Attic Red Figure Stamnos. Louvre.
460 BC Attic Red Figure Lekythos, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
440/30 BC Attic Red Figure Bell Krater. Harvard University Museum.
Greek lyre restored from remains found in Athens; fifth-fourth century BC London, British Museum. Credits: Barbara McManus, 1999
Quotes and Stories
Our songs are our laws.
Themistocles said that he certainly could not make use of any stringed instrument; could only, were a small and obscure city put into his hands, make it great and glorious.
Plutarch, Life of Themistocles.
Not far from the Academy is the monument of Plato, to whom heaven foretold that he would be the prince of philosophers. The manner of the foretelling was this. On the night before Plato was to become his pupil Socrates in a dream saw a swan fly into his bosom. Now the swan is a bird with a reputation for music, because, they say, a musician of the name of Swan became king of the Ligyes on the other side of the Eridanus beyond the Celtic territory, and after his death by the will of Apollo he was changed into the bird. I am ready to believe that a musician became king of the Ligyes, but I cannot believe that a bird grew out of a man.
I am the grave of Baucis the bride. Passing by my stele, say to Hades beneath the earth,
Music is a secret arithmetical exercise and the person who indulges in it does not realize that he is manipulating numbers.
Without music life would be a mistake.
In Larisa I heard another story, how that on Olympus is a city Libethra, where the mountain faces, Macedonia, not far from which city is the tomb of Orpheus. The Libethrians, it is said, received out of Thrace an oracle from Dionysus, stating that when the sun should see the bones of Orpheus, then the city of Libethra would be destroyed by a boar. The citizens paid little regard to the oracle, thinking that no other beast was big or mighty enough to take their city, while a boar was bold rather than powerful. But when it seemed good to the god the following events befell the citizens. About midday a shepherd was asleep leaning against the grave of Orpheus, and even as he slept he began to sing poetry of Orpheus in a loud and sweet voice. Those who were pasturing or tilling nearest to him left their several tasks and gathered together to hear the shepherd sing in his sleep. And jostling one another and striving who could get nearest the shepherd they overturned the pillar, the urn fell from it and broke, and the sun saw whatever was left of the bones of Orpheus. Immediately when night came the god sent heavy rain, and the river Sys (Boar), one of the torrents about Olympus, on this occasion threw down the walls of Libethra, overturning sanctuaries of gods and houses of men, and drowning the inhabitants and all the animals in the city...
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ...
St. Paul: 1Corinthians,Ch.13 The use of tuned Helmholz resonators as amplification in the ancient theaters.
A maybe better definition of music:
Send us at your earliest opportunity the flutist Petoun with the Phrygian flutes, plus the other flutes. If it is necessary to pay him, do so, and we will reimburse you. Also, send us the eunuch Zenobius with a drum, cymbals, and castanets. The women need them for their festival. Be sure he is wearing his most elegant clothing. Get the special goat from Aristion and sent it to us. Send us also as many cheeses as you can, a new jug, and vegetables of all kinds, and fish if you have it. Your health! Throw in some policemen at the same time to accompany the boat. Letter of Demophon to Ptolemaios, c. 245 BC from Paul Halsall Ancient History Sourcebook: Accounts of Personal Religion, c. 430 BCE - 300 CE
Girls were required to run and exercise so that their babies would grow in strong and healthy mothers. To make them brave, Lycurgus ordered that occasionally the girls had to dance and sing naked in front of all the young men. Therefore the girls were ashamed to be fat or weak, and they were happy to display their beauty to such an appreciative audience. In their songs, the girls praised the men who were brave and strong, and they made fun of those who were weak and cowardly, so they sharpened the men's love of glory and fear of shame. Plutarch, Lycurgus, The Father of Sparta
In other things there does not immediately follow upon the admiration and liking of the thing done any strong desire of doing the like. Nay, many times, on the very contrary, when we are pleased with the work, we slight and set little by the workman or artist himself, as for instance, in perfumes and purple dyes, we are taken with the things themselves well enough, but do not think dyers and perfumers otherwise than low and sordid people. It was not said amiss by Antisthenes, when people told him that one Ismenias was an excellent piper. "It may be so," said he, "but he is but a wretched human being, otherwise he would not have been an excellent piper." And King Philip, to the same purpose, told his son Alexander, who once at a merry-meeting played a piece of music charmingly and skilfully, "Are you not ashamed, son, to play so well?" For it is enough for a king or prince to find leisure sometimes to hear others sing, and he does the muses quite honour enough when he pleases to be but present, while others engage in such exercises and trials of skill. Plutarch Pericles
Then one comes to Iasus, which lies on an island close to the mainland. It has a harbor; and the people gain most of their livelihood from the sea, for the sea here is well supplied with fish, but the soil of the country is rather poor. Indeed, people fabricate stories of this kind in regard to Iasus: When a citharoede was giving a recital, the people all listened for a time, but when the bell that announced the sale of fish rang, they all left him and went away to the fish market, except one man who was hard of hearing. The citharoede, therefore, went up to him and said: "Sir, I am grateful to you for the honor you have done me and for your love of music, for all the others except you went away the moment they heard the sound of the bell." And the man said, "What's that you say? Has the bell already rung?" And when the citharoede said "Yes," the man said, "Fare thee well," and himself arose and went away. Strabo Geography 14
.... might tell you also the story of another, a brother to these--the subject of a myth, and a minstrel--Eunomos and Locrian and the Pythic grasshopper. A solemn Hellenic assembly had met at Phytho, to celebrate the death of the Pythic serpent, when Eunomos sang the reptile's epitaph. Whether his ode was a hymn in praise of the serpent, or a dirge, I am not able to say. But there was a contest, and Eunomos was playing the lyre in the summer time: it was when the grasshoppers, warmed by the sun, were chirping beneith the leaves along the hills; but they were singing not to that dead dragon, but to God All-wise,--a lay unfettered by rule, better the numbers of Eunomos.
The Locrian breaks a string. The grasshopper sprang on the neck of the instrument, and sang on it as on a branch; and the minstrel, adapting his strain to the grasshopper's song, made up for the want of the missing string. The grasshopper then was attracted by the song of Eunomos, as the fable represents, according to which also a brazen statue of Eunomos with his lyre, and the Locrian's ally in the contest, was erected at Pytho. But of its own accord it flew to the lyre, and of its own accord sang, and was regarded by the Greeks as a musical performer.. (Clement, Exhortation to the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, II, p. 171-172) Cicada in ancient Greece
We know from drama and poetry that Greeks were far more susceptible to suggested visual imagery than we are, it may well be that their impressions of a poem or a play approach the immediacy and dynamism we find in a well crafted cinematic performance, which makes the audience feel it is actually "there". Music seems to have impressed the Greeks just as deeply, and this continued well into the Classical period; different scales or "modes" suggested excitement, quiet, contemplation, or even frightening ecstasy. With a wider acoustic-psychological range, the Greeks may have felt a broader spectrum of emotions from music than we know William Harris, Land and Climate in the Greek Myths
The nine muses
Calliope (Beautiful Voice) – epic poetry. (Mother of Orpheus) (Orpheus Illustrations)
Only a few Greek music documents were found but almost everything original lost. Some examples were found inscribed in stones for example in Temples, others copies in Egypt written on Papyrus an example with some more information can be seen Here
Pentatonic, Heptatonic, Diatonic Systema Teleion.
Hypate, Parhypate, Lichanos, Mese, Paramese, Trite, Paranete, Nete
Music Education (Klick images to enlarge)
Ancient Greek Music Examples
Seikilos Song (Επιτάφιος Σεικίλου)
Petros Tabouris , “Greek music is basically split and differentiated into two periods: the period of Greek Antiquity and the period of the Middle Ages and Christianity”, Music of Greek Antiquity by Aulites. Hyperlinked titles can be accessed via RealAudio. Lament (Threnos) By Simonides, First Pythian Ode By Pindar, Sikkinis, Epitaph Of Seikilos
Most of these are epitaphs, Hymns and probably are not very representative of the music of ancient Greeks
The Modes of Ancient Greek Music, David Binning Monro
Modern Ancient Greek Music and MP3 Files by Ioannidis Nikolaos
Luigi Borzacchini and Domenico Minunni, A MATHEMATICA NOTEBOOK ABOUT ANCIENT GREEK MUSIC AND
MATHEMATICS (PDF File)
Dithyramb and the ‘Demise of Music' (PDF File)
Clay pyxis with a representation of a kithara player. It comes from a chamber tomb in the area of Koiliaris in Kalyves-Aptera and dates to 1300-1200 BC from the Archaeological Museum of Chania
Orpheus Charms the Beasts Metamorphoses Bk X: 143-144, Regius
Music and instruments of ancient Civilizations
Reports in Greek