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Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
04-16-2021, 01:54 PM (This post was last modified: 04-16-2021 02:23 PM by Skookum Charlie.)
Post: #1
Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
Interesting indeed. If you're into this sort of thing.

Quote:So Now We Know What Ancient Greek Music Sounded Like

Armand D'Angour / The Conversation

In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That way madness lies.”

Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750 BC to 350 BC – the songs of Homer, Sappho, and others – composed and performed as sung music, sometimes accompanied by dance. Literary texts provide abundant and highly specific details about the notes, scales, effects, and instruments used. The lyre was a common feature, along with the popular aulos, two double-reed pipes played simultaneously by a single performer so as to sound like two powerful oboes played in concert.

Despite this wealth of information, the sense and sound of ancient Greek music has proved incredibly elusive. This is because the terms and notions found in ancient sources – mode, enharmonic, diesis, and so on – are complicated and unfamiliar. And while notated music exists and can be reliably interpreted, it is scarce and fragmentary. What could be reconstructed in practice has often sounded quite strange and unappealing – so ancient Greek music had by many been deemed a lost art.


An older reconstruction of ancient Greek music:




A project to investigate ancient Greek music that I have been working on since 2013 has generated stunning insights into how ancient Greeks made music. My research has even led to its performance – and hopefully, in the future, we’ll see many more such reconstructions.

Russian Archaeologists Unearth Oldest Known Fragments of Greek Musical Instruments
Song of Seikilos: Oldest Known Musical Composition Lay Hidden on a Flower Stand in Turkish Garden
Ancient Greek Theater and the Monumental Amphitheaters in Honor of Dionysus

Explanation and renditions of the latest reconstruction of ancient Greek music:





read more here:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-...ic-0010481

Megatherium
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04-16-2021, 01:57 PM
Post: #2
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
interesting why do the voices sound so robotic and stretched out?
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04-16-2021, 02:01 PM
Post: #3
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
Our music was once divided into its proper forms ... It was not permitted to exchange the melodic styles of these established forms and others. Knowledge and informed judgment penalized disobedience. There were no whistles, unmusical mob-noises, or clapping for applause. The rule was to listen silently and learn; boys, teachers, and the crowd were kept in order by threat of the stick. ... But later, an unmusical anarchy was led by poets who had natural talent, but were ignorant of the laws of music ... Through foolishness they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong way in music, that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave. By their works and their theories they infected the masses with the presumption to think themselves adequate judges. So our theatres, once silent, grew vocal, and aristocracy of music gave way to a pernicious theatrocracy ... the criterion was not music, but a reputation for promiscuous cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking.[27]

-Plato

sounds like some of his sentiment could be applied today
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04-16-2021, 04:12 PM
Post: #4
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
(04-16-2021 01:57 PM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote:  interesting why do the voices sound so robotic and stretched out?

Probably the modern musicologist sacrificed pleasantness for the sake of precision while trying to use bare notes and syllables to reconstruct the melody of an ancient chant.
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04-16-2021, 05:39 PM
Post: #5
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
(04-16-2021 01:54 PM)Skookum Charlie Wrote:  An older reconstruction of ancient Greek music:




Assassin's Creed Odyssey did an Acapella version of this song. I believe it's the second of the sea Shanties in this vid:



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04-16-2021, 05:58 PM
Post: #6
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
i prefer medieval church music

they took it to a higher more metaphysical dimension
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04-16-2021, 11:52 PM
Post: #7
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
Sounds like they might be using microtonal music. Very odd to Western ears but commonplace in the East and Middle East.
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04-17-2021, 02:25 AM
Post: #8
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
Something about it sounds more than a problem of musical style, in contrast to ancient style Greek chant. It sounds like they are using electronic voices or accompaniment like an Alexa voice or 1990s DOS MIDI songs.
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04-17-2021, 02:29 AM (This post was last modified: 04-17-2021 02:41 AM by Rako.)
Post: #9
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
Putting aside the robotized style, it goes along with what I've heard of other reconstructions of ancient Greek poetry with accompaniment. The ancient Greek style, with how they double their OS, reminds me of a Scandinavian style of speech, especially Swedish, like the umlaut or the o with dots over it in Goteborg, pronounced like Yo-otabery.

It was the pronunciation problem that stopped me from studying Swedish. I am used to studying Spanish and Russian as my second languages where the phonetics are very systematic and simple.

Modern Chinese and Japanese are more in the prehistoric direction than ancient Greek. Chinese uses pictures like cavemen used when writing messages. Chinese don't use letters. A letter is "a character representing one or more of the sounds used in speech; any of the symbols of an alphabet." Chinese have invented/discovered writing, but not letters, so to speak. I mean, they have discovered other nations' alphabets but haven't converted to alphabets.

I don't want to be mean about it. It's neat how their pictograms have composite derivative meanings. But it makes Chinese hard to learn I think because you have to memorize both thousands of pictures and thousands of sounds.
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04-17-2021, 03:02 AM
Post: #10
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
(04-16-2021 01:57 PM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote:  interesting why do the voices sound so robotic and stretched out?

They sound ok in the second video labeled "Explanation and renditions of the latest reconstruction of ancient Greek music:". It's the first video where the producer may be using electronic voices or accompaniment.

The second video sounds like other renderings that I've heard of ancient Greek poetry or songs.
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04-17-2021, 03:08 AM
Post: #11
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
(04-16-2021 01:57 PM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote:  interesting why do the voices sound so robotic and stretched out?

My first thoughts. It sounds like it's being sung by the Cylon version of Kurt Cobain.
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04-17-2021, 06:08 AM (This post was last modified: 04-17-2021 06:09 AM by Rako.)
Post: #12
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
The first 21 lines of Homer's Odyssey are given aloud here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d39VrPwBGkQ
Excerpts from the Iliad are here: https://www.podium-arts.com/3346/iliad-e...16-feb-15/
Prof. Leonard Mueller reads an excerpt of Homer's Dactylic Hexameter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4trBxZyjkk
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04-17-2021, 06:28 AM
Post: #13
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
There are a series of Christian writings from the first few centuries AD known as the Christian Sibylline Oracles.

The Sibylline Oracles are the spoken or written Oracle prophecies of an Oracle or series of prophets, one of the main ones in history having the name of Sibyl. The pagan Greeks and Romans had a lot of respect for her and some of her sayings apparently included monotheistic ideas even in a pagan context. The original pagan Oracle texts in their direct form are lost, outside of quotations from those oracles in other works.

However, apparently later on, in the first few centuries AD, Christian writers, as well probably as Jewish non pagan ones, forged pagan oracles in a way that expressed Christian or Jewish (like in the sense of the JudeoChristian tradition without specific Christian or anti-Christian features) ideas and ideology.

These early Christian writings of oracles were written with the Oracle poetic hexameter style. The significance of that is that when one translates them, one has to decide whether to translate their meaning rather precisely or to translate them to resemble the poetic style of the original Greek form, which gives the reader the poetic feel of the verses. The challenge with the latter course of translation is that English naturally uses pentameter rather than pentameter based on its syllables, accents, grammar, word forms, etc. I don't even know if you can force English sentences to match a hexameter form. In any case, one well known translation of the Christian Sibyllines, done by Milton Terry, was meant to take the second, poetic method of translation. Since English uses pentameter, he made his sentences flow in the pentameter style.

Maybe your follow up question to me is what is pentameter vs hexameter (literally 5 meter vs 6 meter)? Now you are getting into an area that I myself am not familiar with.
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04-17-2021, 06:31 AM
Post: #14
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
I was not able to find quotations from the Oracles recorded in Greek online. However, the Oracles were written in a form of dactylic hexameter resembling that in Homer's poetry.

In his book The Sibylline Oracles, J. L. Lightfoot notes that the Oracles uses a higher proportion of "spondees" in its hexameters than Homer's own poetry uses. A "spondee" is a metrical foot consisting of two long syllables. Lightfoot writes:
Quote:Most obviously, she [the Sibyl] has a high proportion of spondaic feet. There is an overall tendency for the proposrtion of dactyls to spondeeds in a hexameter to rise from Homer to Nonnus, in other words for the number of spondees to fall. But the Sibylline oracles have an even higher proportion of spondees to dactyls than Homer; books 1 and 2 slightly overtop the average with 28.6% and 27.6% respectively, though not by as much as books 5, 6, and 7. The Sibyl's Homerising preference for high numbers of spondees is shared with the corpus of Delphic oracles, where Nieto Ibanez records an average of 27.4%. Again, the Sibyl employs a high number of hexametrical schemes (possible permutations of dactyls and spondees), almost as high as the maximum possible 32 (all found in Homer), and running counter to the tendency in post-Homeric poetry to reduce those schemes.
It's not an easy area of study for me.
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04-17-2021, 07:07 AM
Post: #15
RE: Reconstructing the Sound of Ancient Greek Music
(04-17-2021 03:08 AM)ringworm Wrote:  
(04-16-2021 01:57 PM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote:  interesting why do the voices sound so robotic and stretched out?

My first thoughts. It sounds like it's being sung by the Cylon version of Kurt Cobain.

hahahaha

Those who know, know! Big Grin
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