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.
However, as we have already seen, the aulos had a cylindrical bore, and the higher register, produced by the use of the syrinx, was not an octave but a twelfth above the lower register. This would have given a strange sound, which does not seem to have any parallel in other double-piping traditions. I am inclined to think that the octave effect was used at times, but that a special type of aulos, the magadis aulos, 45 THE AULOS was designed for the purpose. It is possible that this is the
characterize a tambourine, and the sound was a deep, booming drum-beat (the effect of the bowl resonator). It was not shaken like a tambourine, which does not appear until some time in the third century BC. It is repeatedly stressed in the literary sources (particularly in Euripides’ tragedy, the Bacchae, which is much concerned with the cult of Dionysos), that the tympanon provided a rhythmic reinforcement for the ritual songs and cries and the aulos-music of the cult, rather than a sound which
achieve some measure of crowd and traffic control. Needless to say, there was also an element of ostentation involved, and for the Etruscan gossips after a wedding the burning question would be ‘How many trumpeters did they have?’ One other instrument was certainly used by the Etruscans from very early times, but appears hardly at all in Greek literature or art until the late fourth century BC, and then in cosmopolitan Alexandria (see Chapter 7). This is the transverse flute, plagiaulos in Greek
on p. 173 speaks of the fat Etruscan ‘blowing on to the ivory’ (inflavit ebur), which suits a flute much better than any other wind instrument. It remains a popular subject in Roman art down to the third century AD and beyond.11 Figure 8.7 Etruscan transverse flute 181 THE ROMAN MUSICAL EXPERIENCE The early history of Roman literature (to sum up an enormous subject in a few sentences) shows a fairly predictable series of stages. To begin with the Roman writers translated or imitated existing
codger’, the clown and so on; it can immediately be recognized as the ancestor of the Renaissance Commedia dell’ Arte. As there was no written script,19 there are no texts to tell us whether or not there was music involved, but on balance it seems probable, and if so, a folkmusic tradition of the area might have been its inspiration. Plautus was certainly well acquainted with the art form; in fact, his critics occasionally liken his characters to those of the Atellan plays.20 It has also been