Landmarks In Greek History And Culture MAP OF ANCIENT GREECE
Innovations of the Ancient Greeks• Democratic Institutions• Modes of critical thoughts• Music of Western Civilization begins here• Western drama begins with plays of Sophocles and other Greek playwrights.• Philosophy begins with Socrates and Plato• Modern Olympics descend from the Greeks
Music in Greek Society• Music sets rhythm of Greek life with: – Drinking songs, love songs, wedding songs funeral dirges, and hymns for Gods.• Songs may have been performed by a – Chorus – Solo singer – Accompanied by a musical instrument (lyre, kithara, or aulos)
Greek Musical Instruments• Lyre: a medium-sized instrument usually fitted with seven strings of sheep gut and plucked by a plectrum of metal or bone.• Kithara: a very large lyre, also with seven strings, but with a resonator at the bottom made of wood rather than a tortoise shell.• Aulos: a wind instrument fitted with a round single reed or a flat double reed.
Music in the Theatre• Greek theater usually employed two to three actors and an all-male chorus (15).• Chorus was extremely important – comments & moralizes about action occurring on stage (as it does later in Baroque opera).• Two papyrus scraps of two plays by Euripides (d. 406 B.C.E.) are all that remain of Greek theater music (Stasimon chorus from Orestes)
Euripides: Orestes, Stasimon Chorus (c.408 B.C.E.)What vengeful Demon thus with footstep dread,Trampling the blood-polluted ground,Sternly cruel joys to spreadHorror, rage, and madness round?Woe, woe is me! In man’s frail stateNor height nor greatness firm abides.
Early Greek Musical Notation• Early Greek music clearly indicates pitches and sets musical duration: – Chronos (eighth note) – basic unit of time. – Diseme (quarter note) – two chronoi’s worth – Triseme (dotted quarter) – three chronoi’s worth which was also a triplet unit.
Private Festivities: The Symposium• Symposium – a tightly organized social gathering in which adult males came together for conversation & entertainment (after-dinner drinking party).• Skolion – a song setting of a brief lyrical poem.
Seikilos: Skolion or Epitaph(first century C.E.) – “As long as you live”1. As long as you live, shine2. Grieve you not at all3. Life is of brief duration4. Time demands its end
Ethical Power of Music• Greeks believed music could affect human behavior.• Plato declares music the most powerful of the arts – to change behavior, change music.
Music of the Spheres• Pythagoras (c580-480 B.C.E.): believed that the essence of the universe could be found in music and number.• Music of the spheres – belief that when the stars and planets rotated in balanced proportions, they made heavenly music. (persists until the time of Shakespeare)
Greek Ratios for a Scale• Greeks generated notes of scale by using basic ratios of: 2:1 (octave) 3:2 (fifth) 4:3 (fourth) 9:8 (whole tone)• This developed a system of dividing octave into seven pitches (five whole tones and two semi-tones). This does not change until the 14th Cent.
• Monochord – a single string instrument which Greeks divided into intervals of an octave, fifth, fourth, & whole-step.• Tetrachord – a succession of four pitches which was the building block of the scale.
Greater Perfect System• Greeks had neither musical staff, nor note heads, nor clefs; they only spoke in terms of intervallic relationships.• Greater Perfect System – the framework of the Greek two-octave scale (made up of four tetrachords).