Presentation on theme: "Antiquity Part 2 4 th Six Weeks – Phase 1. Instruments of Ancient Greece From written accounts and from the archaeological record—especially illustrations."— Presentation transcript:
Instruments of Ancient Greece From written accounts and from the archaeological record—especially illustrations on pottery—scholars have been able to identify a wide range of musical instruments cultivated in ancient Greece.
Instruments of Ancient Greece Cont. The most important stringed instruments were the many types of lyres, each with its own characteristic sound and symbolic significance. A lyre consisted of a sound box from which curved arms extended, joined by a crossbar. Strings, attached between the crossbar and the sound box, were often played with a plectrum (a “pick”). Lyres were used as solo instruments or to accompany voices.
Instruments of Ancient Greece – Percussion Instruments Percussion instruments included drums of many kinds, as well as the krotala (hollowed-out blocks of wood played in the manner of castanets) and kumbala (finger cymbals).
Music in the Roman Empire Between the 2 nd century B.C.E. and the early 1 st century C.E., the Greek homeland and the Hellenistic kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean succumbed to the armies of Rome. By 117 C.E., when it reached its greatest extent, the Roman empire controlled the entire Mediterranean world and western Europe into Britain. For some 200 years, beginning with the reign of Augustus (27 B.C.E.—14 C.E.), Roman dominion brought stability and prosperity to this region.
Music in the Roman Empire Cont. Even before they conquered Greece, the Romans had absorbed many aspects of Greek culture, including its music. No Roman music has survived in notated form, yet we know from written accounts that music played an important role in many aspects of Roman life, including theater and civic ritual. Every religious cult had its own particular repertory of music and instruments. The poet Lucretius (99-55 B.C.E.) described the procession in honor of the goddess Cybele as accompanied by the sound of “tightly stretched drums” that “thunder out as they are struck by the hands of her attendants. Curved cymbals clash, and horns threaten with their harsh wailing. And the hollow flute stirs the heart with Phrygian Tune.”
The Musical Legacies of Antiquity Beginning in the late 3 rd century C.E., the Roman Empire entered a long period of economic decline. Pressured by Germanic invaders on its borders and stagnating economically, it fragmented into two major regions, eastern and western. During this time, Christianity rose to dominance within the empire, ultimately displacing Greek and Roman pantheon to become the state religion. In 410, the Visigoths sacked Rome, and in 476, with the overthrow of its last emperor, the Western Roman Empire all but vanished. The Greek-speaking Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire would endure the fall of its capital Constantinople (modern Istanbul), to the Turks in 1453.
The Musical Legacies of Antiquity Cont. By the 5 th century C.E., the music of antiquity and the oral tradition that accompanied it had also all but vanished. The theoretical writings of antiquity about music, however, was preserved through Roman poets and authors. Basic elements of Greek and Roman music theory was transmitted by later authors to the medieval era.
And so… Thus, although the music of antiquity was essentially lost to the medieval era, the attitudes of the ancient Greeks and Romans toward music have exerted an unbroken influence on Western thinking about the art down to the present day. Many of these attitudes and beliefs found their expression in myth. Other aspects of ancient perspectives toward music can be gleaned from philosophy, drama, poetry, and through writings concerned directly with music itself.
Instruments of Ancient Rome The Romans made significant advances over the Greeks in instrument building. Brass instruments like the tuba and cornu (horn) featured detachable mouthpieces and figured prominently in military life, providing signals to troops in battle. Roman society valued the hydraulic organ in particular. Powered by water pressure created with bellows, this instrument was used in civic ceremonies and even gladitorial fights. The statesman and poet Cicero compared the sound of the organ to fine food and associated it with the most sensual feelings.
Music and the Cosmos Pythagoras, known for his Pythagorean Theory, noted the relationship between musical sound and number. His followers ascribed to him the assertion that “there is a geometry in the humming of the strings; there is music in the spacings of the spheres.” There is, in other words, a harmony of the spheres” based on mathematical ratios of movement and distance among the heavenly bodies that creates a music of it own—inaudible on earth, unfortunately, but no less real. This belief in the music of the spheres would permeate Western thought for more than 2,000 years.
Music and the Soul The same forces perceived to govern the cosmos, including music, were also understood by the ancients to govern the human soul. Music thus had the power to alter behavior in the most fundamental way, creating either harmony or discord within the spirit of the individual. Orpheus and Euridice – Orpheus was a celebrated musician capable of calming wild beasts with his playing. The story suggest that through music, humans can bridge the otherwise unbridgeable dvide between life and death.
Music and the Soul cont. Odysseus – the Odyssey The belief that music has the power to elevate or debase the soul, to enlighten or degrade the mind, was widespread in antiquity and is still current today. The doctrine of ethos held that music was capable of arousing listeners to certain kinds of emotions and behaviors.
Music and the State The same powers that affect the individual also affect the state—which is, after all, a collection of individuals. Music education was thus an element of good citizenship in ancient Greece, for youth of both sexes. “Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul,” Aristotle declared, “and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be educated in it.” His teacher Plato had taken a far more restrictive approach to music education even while acknowledging its importance:
Plato “The overseers of our state must…be watchful against innovations in music and gymnastics counter to the established order, and to the best of their power guard against them…For a change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard of all our fortunes. For the modes of music are never disturbed without unsettling of the most fundamental political and social conventions.”
Music and the State cont. This fear of the subversive power of unfamiliar music (or any music) has cropped up countless times over the centuries. In the 20 th century alone, older generations have condemned ragtime (in the 1910s), jazz (1920s), rock and roll (1950s and 1960s), heavy metal (1980s), and rap (1990s) as threats to the morals of American youth. The danger was seen to reside not only in the lyrics but also in the music itself, either because of its rhythm (ragtime, jazz, rock and roll) or volume and timbre (heavy metal). In one way or another, all of these repertories created anxiety about the disruption of the established order.
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