The Dance of the Muses: Choral Theory and Ancient Greek by A. P. David

By A. P. David

This ebook develops an genuine and while innovative musical research of historical Greek poetry. It departs from the summary metrical analyses of the prior in that it conceives the rhythmic and harmonic components of poetry as imperative to the entire expression, and decisive within the interpretation of its that means. David deals a thoroughgoing remedy of Homeric poetics: the following a few outstanding discoveries within the harmonic circulate of epic verse, whilst mixed with a few overlooked evidence concerning the beginning of the hexameter in a "dance of the Muses," bring about crucial new wondering the genesis and the shape of Homeric poetry. He additionally supplies a foretaste of the end result to be harvested in lyric by means of a musical research, which applies a brand new concept of the Greek tonic accessory and considers concretely the function of dance in functionality.

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Extra info for The Dance of the Muses: Choral Theory and Ancient Greek Poetics

Sample text

It is possible to separate the new theory of the accent from the rest of the argument of this book, as a purely linguistic thesis. But let the reader note that accent is produced by the voice, while in Greek, ictus comes from the feet. It is not necessary to dispute language-based theories of metre in general; only to claim an exception, grounded in historical evidence, but also in the observations of such scholars as Antoine Meillet and Pierre Chantraine, for Greek. Allen’s study of stress depended on a presumed regularity of the accentual reinforcement of ictus in a metrical coda.

1 If Aristotle is right, however, it was Aeschylus who pulled out a second dancer so that the pair could re-enact a dialogue (Poetics 1449a16). His narrative suggests that this was actually an innovation in the dithyramb, a crucial step on its way to becoming tragedy. Hence Philoxenus may merely have been a late capitulator in his genre. As for ôa äæþìåíÆ, that is, liturgical or cultic drama, we may only speculate on its historical development, its use of choruses, and its relationship to the emergent forms of the Aeschylean theatre and its ‘profanations’.

What cannot be promised here is the deWnitive reconstruction of a performance. DeWnitive performance in relation to any written text, even in the contemporary, must remain an inherently doubtful proposition. Even the living presence of an author or composer cannot protect a written work from its dependence upon the act of interpretation in performance. What can be promised here, however, is a new level of objective insight into the poetics of ancient poetry. In modern musical texts, rhythmic modulations, key changes, melodic patterns, and the like, constitute a body of objective data yielded immediately in the interpretation of a musical score.

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