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It appears that, to this extent, Pindar keeps his meters and his harmoniai distinct in any given composition, and that only on the level of dialect are the Aeolic and Doric elements accretively merged. Still the report that the Locrian mode, to be equated with the Aeolian Cleonides, p. The new nomenclature of Hypodorian suggests that the old Aeolian melodic tradition had become at best a residual subcategory of Dorian. Such shifts in classification might help explain what seem at first to be contradictions in the later testimony about the melodic pattern of various genres.

If indeed such a pattern is perceived as Hypodorian , the term Dorian here may be viewed as inclusive of Aeolian. Still there seem to be clear signs of correlation between given genres and given melodic patterns, parallel to the well-known correlation between given genres and given metrical patterns.

Classification by way of genus was systematized by Aristoxenus. According to this system Aristoxenus Harmonics The two outer notes of the tetrachord are constant for all three of the genera while the two inner ones are variable; the different locations of the inner notes within the tetrachord of four notes constitute the differences in genera. We might say that the containers known as the three genera are new, but they contain three redistributed sets of old patterns. The most old-fashioned features, clearly, fall into the category of the enharmonic genus.

When Aristoxenus discusses the order in which the genera came into being Harmonics Thus the Archaic musical style of Olympus is to be considered a sort of early enharmonic ibid. This admission makes it clear that the enharmonic was in fact the basis for differentiation, and that the hierarchy in terms of myth has to be reversed in terms of the actual development of patterns.

The hierarchy of myth, which is based on contemporary musical perceptions of what comes naturally, must be juxtaposed with actual contemporary musical trends. Despite the thought-pattern of myth, which insists on the invention of the chromatic out of the diatonic, it is generally agreed by present-day musicologists, on the basis of other indications in the ancient sources, that the diatonic genus superseded the chromatic as the prevailing musical style in post-Hellenistic times.

Moreover, we have also seen the testimony of Aristoxenus to the effect that the chromatic genus tends to displace the enharmonic in his own time Harmonics Thus it would appear that the enharmonic is more Archaic in its interval patterns than the chromatic. Similarly, if indeed composers avoid the chromatic in order to imitate the older masters—and we have seen that Aristoxenus verifies this practice as a contemporary one—then the chromatic genus must surely be less Archaic than the enharmonic.

From the standpoint of the Archaic masters of lyric, it may even be enough to describe their enharmonic melodic patterns as simply harmonic. The word puknon refers to a pattern where the two lowest intervals of the tetrachord, when added together, are less than the remaining interval of the tetrachord. In other words the distinctive feature of enharmonic and chromatic genera is the consecutive sequence of two small intervals, the puknon , while the rest of the tetrachord is occupied by one single large interval.

In addition there is an auxiliary rule according to which the puknon cannot be followed in traditional melody by an interval that is shorter than one tone. If indeed the enharmonic tetrachord were once simply the harmonic, preceding any differentiations leading to the chromatic and thereafter to the diatonic, then we may look for the clearest traces of preserved affinities with the pitch accent system of the Greek language precisely in the enharmonic genus. Rounding out this survey of the chronologically overlapping melodic systems of nomoi , harmoniai , tonoi , and genera, we may say that they all reflect in various degrees an ongoing process of mutual assimilation and systematization, to which I have applied the overall concept of Panhellenization.

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The present list is hardly exhaustive. For example, another important factor that contributed to the systematization of melodic traditions was the innovative interaction of conventions in accompaniment by lyre and reed aulos , [ ] and the actual conflation of distinct melodic patterns associated with the lyre, the aulos , and the voice, as pioneered by such antecedents of Pindar as Lasus of Hermione Theon of Smyrna, p. Aristophanes Wasps — With this survey of melodic traditions in Greek song serving as background, we may pursue further the notion of a canon in our ongoing discussion of Panhellenization in poetry and song.

What I have proposed is that the formation of a canon in song—which we can also call lyric poetry— started relatively later than the formation of a canon in nonlyric poetry proper. Once the Panhellenic breakthrough of song did happen, however, its transmission would have been facilitated to rival that of poetry not only because of the mnemonic utility of melody but also because of the relative brevity of song as opposed to the potentially open-ended length of poetry.

In any inherited distinction between SONG and speech , we would expect that the pressures of regularization in SONG would tend to delimit the length of production in contrast with the potentially open-ended length of speaking everyday speech. So also in any differentiation of SONG into song vs. With these considerations, let us examine the social context of performance. But this pattern is just one of many other possible patterns of evolution. Of all the composers of song, or lyric poets, I single out Pindar as the focus of our attention.

Along with his near-contemporary, Bacchylides, Pindar is the latest and the last in the canon of lyric poets inherited by the Alexandrian editors. The last securely datable poem of Pindar, Pythian 8, was composed for performance in B. With this date of we have an imprecise but revealing terminus in the history of ancient Greek poetry.

Pindar poem

A striking feature of this terminus is the fact that the canon of lyric poetry excludes poets who flourished in the second half of the fifth century or thereafter. Although there is ample evidence for the existence of poets who composed song in the second half of the fifth century and thereafter—the most prominent of whom are Timotheus of Miletus and Philoxenus of Cythera— [ ] there is also evidence that their song was a medium that had evolved beyond the lyric poetry represented by Pindar and the other canonical lyric poets.

In particular the differences can be seen in the genres known as the citharodic nome and the dithyramb. Both were different from all the earlier lyric types, including the earlier nome and dithyramb, [ ] in significant respects: they were nonstanzaic, the relative importance of music to words suddenly and greatly increased, and their affinity to drama was recognized; Aristotle groups them with tragedy and comedy in his classification of the mimetic arts at the beginning of the Poetics. It may be that the Alexandrian critics did not consider this new poetry, which continued dominant in the fourth century, to be of the same genre as lyric poetry nearly all of which was stanzaic , [ ] and for this reason excluded Timotheus, Philoxenus of Cythera, Cinesias, and the other writers of dithyrambs and nomes.

Such a trend of extinction is most evident from the standpoint of traditions in performance. Technically Pheidippides is refusing here to perform a skolion.

This word skolion , as used in the time of Aristophanes, is an appropriate general designation for the performance, self-accompanied on the lyre, of compositions by the great lyric masters. The poets of Old Comedy, as we have seen, even ridicule the new poetry that purports to displace the old poetry. On another level Old Comedy could also ridicule the old poetry of lyric traditions, as in the parody of Pindar F SM in Aristophanes Birds , note too the adjacent reference to Simonides in Birds — The point remains that the old traditions of lyric are obsolescent by the time of Aristophanes, and in fact the Birds , presented in B.

It seems that the allusion is being made to the most famous parts of famous compositions.


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It seems likely that the evolving predominance of Athenian theater as a poetic medium played a major role in the obsolescence of lyric poetry in other media and by extension in other genres. These genres, [ ] as well as other genres left unspecified ibid. In contrast, as Svenbro points out, [ ] Athenian drama is seen by Aristotle not as the product of degeneration but rather as a teleological organic development in the evolution of poetic traditions Poetics a14— From either point of view, the lyric poetry of Athenian theater would be considered the final productive phase of a medium that had otherwise become unproductive already by the second half of the fifth century.

Thus a lower degree of education is required for performing in the chorus of an Aeschylean tragedy or for reperforming at a symposium selections from the choral songs of such a tragedy. Let us consider the genres in which Pindar composed. It remains to ask how exactly these references came about.

One readily available explanation is that Plato was citing from a hypothetical edition of Pindar that was circulating in Athens. I quote from the summary of a musicologist: [ ] The classic Athenian comedy had been made for a society which talked music as it talked politics or war. The Alexandrian era still has excellent stage gossip on performers, but a first-hand judgement on the style or quality of music is hardly to be found after the fourth century.

Aristotle already prefers received opinions. His master Plato and his pupil Aristoxenus are the last who speak to us with the authority of musical understanding.

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Plato Laws e. Clearly the musical tradition of Pindar had survived until then. By implication there was a time when a choral composition, such as we see in the songs of Simonides or his contemporary Pindar, could be actively converted into a solo performance. Such interchangeability between choral and solo contexts is a clear indication, however indirect, of the flexibility of the choral lyric form as a still-living tradition in the era of Pindar. The very occasions of this lyric poetry, however, were of Panhellenic importance, with an impact lasting in prestige.

But the prestige of such an occasion was meant to reverberate indefinitely in time and space. Just as the concept of Panhellenism is relative in terms of poetry and song, [ ] so also in terms of athletics: the older the athletic festival, the more Panhellenic was its prestige. Thus the Olympics of Elis traditional founding date of B. C , the Isthmians more than the Nemeans near Argos B.

It is clear that there would have been no rationale for recommissioning a chorus to reperform such a composition since the original occasion would have been archetypal from the standpoint of the lyric poetry. To put it another way, the original occasion would have been gone forever from the standpoint of us outsiders who are critics of this poetry. There is no chorus, no chorus-leader present; instead a soloist performer must reconstitute their roles, while accompanying himself on the lyre. There is a useful survey by Comotti In the discussion that follows, I use the same notions of pitch and melody that I have set up in the working definitions at Ch.

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See Pfeiffer On the concept of canon as used here, see Ch. Kirkwood The dating of Corinna as roughly contemporaneous has been a matter of controversy, discussed impartially by Page If indeed this lyric poetry is Archaic cf. Gerber On the localized nature of the compositions attributed to Corinna, I cite the useful discussion of Davison The absence of an ultimately Panhellenic transmission could perhaps be connected with the possible absence of an Athenian transmission.

In any case it is important to distinguish between the selective canon inherited by the Alexandrian scholars and the nonselective repertory of works housed in their Museum: see Ch. For the Alexandrian scholars, exclusion of an author from the canon does not preclude an active interest in that author, even as a model for imitation. As Zetzel This is not to say that we should expect the patterns of recomposition in poetry and song to be neatly parallel in every way. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff See also Page See Ch. What Zetzel Quintilian Institutio oratoria Thus the Epic Cycle, for example, becomes reassigned to distinct poets, whose canonical status is considered inferior to that of Homer: see Ch.

On Orpheus and Musaeus, presented as if they were earlier than Hesiod and Homer, cf. Aristophanes Frogs — further references at Ch. By contrast Herodotus 2. It is clear from the context that Herodotus places Homer and Hesiod as the earliest because he deems their canonical status the very highest. By the time of the first century A. Dio of Prusa Orations In Ch. The valuable testimony in Plato Laws c—b on the given of institutional differentiation, in terms of public performance, between the monodic and choral media is too readily dismissed by commentators. This point is stressed by Kirkwood Davies For a useful survey, see Barker Survey in Barker, p.

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Also I should caution against any general assumptions of parity between instrumental and vocal intervals: for a cross-cultural survey, see Nettl More details in N Lycurgus is credited with being one of the founders of the first numbered instance of the Olympic Games, that is, at B. Athenaeus ibid. See the commentary of Barker Pindar knew the tale of Troy generally from the rhapsodists, without distinction of early or late see Pyth.