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Ancient Music: Greece (Index) | cymVolon

Ancient Music: Greece (Index)

Greek Ancient Music

The music of ancient Greece was almost universally present in society, from marriages and funerals to religious ceremonies, theatre, folk music and the ballad-like reciting of epic poetry. It thus played an integral role in the lives of ancient Greeks. There are significant fragments of actual Greek musical notation as well as many literary references to ancient Greek music, such that some things can be known—or reasonably surmised—about what the music sounded like, the general role of music in society, the economics of music, the importance of a professional caste of musicians, etc. Even archaeological remains reveal an abundance of depictions on ceramics, for example, of music being performed. The word music comes from the Muses, the daughters of Zeus and patron goddesses of creative and intellectual endeavours.  source: wikipedia

index: Ancient Music

Music Scales (Climakai):

The Greek scales in the Aristoxenian tradition were (Barbera 1984, 240; Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(d)):

  • Mixolydian: hypate hypaton–paramese (b–b′)
  • Lydian: parhypate hypaton–trite diezeugmenon (c′–c″)
  • Phrygian: lichanos hypaton–paranete diezeugmenon (d′–d″)
  • Dorian: hypate meson–nete diezeugmenon (e′–e″)
  • Hypolydian: parhypate meson–trite hyperbolaion (f′–f″)
  • Hypophrygian: lichanos meson–paranete hyperbolaion (g′–g″)
  • Common, Locrian, or
    Hypodorian: mese–nete hyperbolaion or proslambnomenos–mese (a′–a″ or a–a′)

Music Modes (Tonoi):

The term tonos (pl. tonoi) was used in four senses: “as note, interval, region of the voice, and pitch. We use it of the region of the voice whenever we speak of Dorian, or Phrygian, or Lydian, or any of the other tones” (Cleonides 1965, 44). Cleonides attributes thirteen tonoi to Aristoxenus, which represent a progressive transposition of the entire system (or scale) by semitone over the range of an octave between the Hypodorian and the Hypermixolydian (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e)). Aristoxenus’s transpositional tonoi, according to Cleonides (1965, 44), were named analogously to the octave species, supplemented with new terms to raise the number of degrees from seven to thirteen. However, according to the interpretation of at least two modern authorities, in these transpositional tonoi the Hypodorian is the lowest, and the Mixolydian next-to-highest—the reverse of the case of the octave species (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e); Solomon 1984, 244–45), with nominal base pitches as follows (descending order):

  • f:   Hypermixolydian (or Hyperphrygian)
  • e:   High Mixolydian or Hyperiastian
  • e♭:   Low Mixolydian or Hyperdorian
  • d:   Lydian
  • c♯:   Low Lydian or Aeolian
  • c:   Phrygian
  • B:   Low Phrygian or Iastian
  • B♭:   Dorian
  • A:   Hypolydian
  • G♯:   Low Hypolydian or Hypoaelion
  • G:   Hypophrygian
  • F♯:   Low Hypophrygian or Hypoiastian
  • F:   Hypodorian

Music Harmonies (Harmoniai):

In music theory the Greek word harmonia can signify the enharmonic genus of tetrachord, the seven octave species, or a style of music associated with one of the ethnic types or the tonoi named by them (Mathiesen 2001b).

Harmoniai of the School of Eratocles (enharmonic genus)
Mixolydian ¼ ¼ 2 ¼ ¼ 2 1
Lydian ¼ 2 ¼ ¼ 2 1 ¼
Phrygian 2 ¼ ¼ 2 1 ¼ ¼
Dorian ¼ ¼ 2 1 ¼ ¼ 2
Hypolydian ¼ 2 1 ¼ ¼ 2 ¼
Hypophrygian 2 1 ¼ ¼ 2 ¼ ¼
Hypodorian 1 ¼ ¼ 2 ¼ ¼ 2

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831 Responses to “Ancient Music: Greece (Index)”

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