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Integrating Music and Religion in the Study of                                                   the Ancient Greek Aulos a...
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Integrating music and religion in the study of the ancient Greek aulos and Mousikè


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Poster presented on the conference "Musical Perceptions - Past and Present. On Ethnographic Analogy and Experimental Archaeology in Music Archaeological Research. 6th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology". Berlin, Ethnological Museum, September 9-13, 2008.

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Integrating music and religion in the study of the ancient Greek aulos and Mousikè

  1. 1. Integrating Music and Religion in the Study of the Ancient Greek Aulos and Mousikè Ellen Van Keer Vrije Universiteit Brussel Introduction References This research focuses on the ‘religious’ practices and perceptions associated with the music of the aulos in ancient Greek culture. Brulé, P., & C. Vendries, eds. 2001. Chanter les Dieux. Musique et religion dans l Antiquité grecque et romaine. Actes du colloques des 16, 17 et 18 décembre 1999 à Rennes et Lorient. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. Research Design Bundrick, S. 2005. Music and Image in Classical Athens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The ancient Greek aulos is problematic in various respects. One is that it is traditionally inaccurately translated as ‘double Goulaki-Voutira, A. 1992. Heracles and Music. flutes’ (West 1992). Another is that is typically one-dimensionally identified as a quintessential barbarian and Dionysian RIdiM Newsletter 17 (1): 2-14. instrument suitable mainly for foreigners, slaves, prostitutes, maenads, satyrs, etc. – the ‘rejected’ opposite of the Apolline Moustaka, A. 2001. Aulos und Auletik im lyre (Wilson 1999). This perception is heavily text-dependent (Plat. Resp. 399d; Arist. Pol. 1341a; Plut. Alc. 2.7) and archaischen Ionien. Zu einem Aulos aus dem Heraion von Samos. In Ithaki. supported visually by countless images found in Attic ‘mythological’ iconography mainly (Bundrick 2005). Festschrift für Jörg Schäfer, ed. S. Böhm & K.-V. von Eickstedt. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 131-6 pl. 13-14. Murray, P., & P. Wilson, eds. 2004. Music and the Muses. The Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Naerebout, F.G. 2006. Moving Events. Dance at Public Events in the Ancient Greek World. Thinking through its Implications. Kernos Suppl. 16:37-67. Papadopoulou-Belmehdi, I., & Z. Papadopoulou. 2002. Musique et culte: le cas des Déliades. In Religions méditerranéennes et orientales de lAntiquité, ed. F. Labrique. Cairo: Institut “Flute-girl” and symposiast Dionysus and satyr Orgiastic dancing and music Apollo, Scythe and Marsyas français darchéologie orientale, 155-176. Attic Red-Figured Kylix, New Haven, Yale Attic Red-Figured Kylix, Berlin, Attic Red-Figured Crater, Ferrara, Museo Marble bas-relief sculpture, Athens, National MuseumUniversity Gallery 1913.163, ARV² 36(a), ca. Antikensammlung F2290, ARV² Nazionale di Spina 2897 (T128), ARV² 1680, ca. 215, from Mantinea, temple of Leto, Artemis and Restani, D. 2005. Les mythes de la musique 510-500 B.C., circle Gales Painter 462.48, ca. 500-450 B.C., Makron 450-425 B.C., Polygnotus group Apollo, circle of Praxiteles, ca. 335 B.C. dans la Grèce antique. In Musiques. Une encyclopédie pour le XXIe siècle, ed. J.-J. Nattiez and e.a. Paris: Editions Actes Sud, This study aims to qualify the classical perception of the ancient Greek aulos by studying the archaeological, iconographical, 163-81. and, especially, the mythological and religious evidence within their individual contexts and on their proper merits. Schauenburg, K. 1990. Nike mit Flöten. AA:101-5. Shapiro, H.A. 1992. Mousikoi Agones: Music and Poetry at the Panathenaia. In Goddess and Polis. The Panathenaic festival in Ancient Athens, ed. J. Neils. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 53-76. Van Keer, E. 2004. The Myth of Marsyas in Material and Method Ancient Greek Art: Musical and mythological iconography. Music in Art XXIX (1/2): 20-37. We find the aulos and its music to be truly ubiquitous in Greek society and history and also to have associations with an West, M.L. 1992. Ancient Greek Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. extreme wide variety of deities and heroes (Zschätzsch 2002). They belong to ‘foreign’ and ‘orgiastic’ environments such as the cults and myths of Cybele and Dionysus as well as to such seemingly ‘contrastive’ environments as the cults and myths of Wilson, P. 1999. The aulos in Athens. In Performance culture and Athenian Apollo (Papadopoulou-Belmedhi & Papadopoulou 2002), Athena (Shapiro 1992), Hera (Moustaka 2001), Heracles (Goulaki- democracy, ed. S. Goldhill & R. Osborne. Voutira 1992), Nike (Schauenburg 1990), etc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 58-95. Zschätzsch, A. 2002. Verwendung und Bedeutung griechischer Musikinstrumente in Mythos und Kult. Rhaden: Marie Leidorf Verlag. Credits Fragments of auloi Hermes, Heracles, Athena Panathenaic Procession Apollo and Muses Fragments of auloi This research project is supported by Sparta, Temple of Artemis Attic Black-Figured Skyphos, South from Athens, Acropolis, Parthenon, Frieze, Attic Red-Figured Crater, Wien, Delos, Sanctuary of V. Pirenne-Delforge (ULiège) and J. N.Orthia, ca. 600-550 B.C., bone Hadley, Mount Holyoke College 1925 North Slabs VI-VIII, circle of Phidias, ca. Kunsthistorisches Museum 697, ARV² Apollo, workshop, 2-1 Bremmer (RUGroningen). Funding is (drawings Dawkins 1929) SBII.3, ARV² 519.18, ca. 500 B.C., 443-438 B.C. (Carrey drawings 1674) 1075.11, ca. 440-430 B.C., Danae Cent. B.C.; bone Painter currently provided by Fonds Theseus Painter Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen and Centrum Leo Apostel, Through a close analysis of the various ‘religious’ sources and associations of the aulos, this study tries to achieve a more Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. complexified understanding of the multiple practices and beliefs involving the music of the aulos in Greek life and thought. Further information on this and related projects and presentations cf. Please mailto: for feedback or suggestions. Premises and Objectives #1 The modern concept of ‘music’ is inadequate in the Greek context. Greek music is not merely a distinguished form of Conclusion tonal ‘art’ or ‘science’ but a complex cultural practice embedded profoundly in socio-political life. (Murray & Wilson 2004) Anthropology and ethnomusicology offer broader and more adequate approaches and notions - ‘ethnic’ music, This study aims to qualify and to musical ‘behaviour’, MTD - to study and understand the Greek Mousikè in all its facets and extent. (Naerebout 2006) complexify our understanding of of the music of the aulos within #2 Musical myths and cults are constitutive of the Mousikè, literally the arts and skills ‘of the Muses’. They shaped and reflected ancient Greek culture. In this, socio-religious practices, customs, attitudes and values circulating in Greek culture and involving music. (Restani 2005) ‘text and image, myth and Segregating the study of Greek music and religion is ineffective. (Brulé & Vendries 2001) In the Greek context musical history‘, ‘music’ and ‘religion’, and religious behaviour intertwine and it is ultimately this complexity that this research tries to understand. ‘Apollo’ and ‘Dionysus’, ‘past’ and ‘present’, etc. interrelate in #3 This project integrates music and religion in the study of the ancient Greek aulos. It examines the entire corpus of ‘religious’ intricate ways. It is ultimately sources (texts, images, objects) involving the music of the aulos within this multiple cultural and scientific context. these relations that this It aims to enlarge our understanding of the functioning of the myths, gods and cults involved as well as to expand research tries to understand. our knowledge about the aulos as it was practiced and perceived in Greek religion and history. (Van Keer 2004)