Sunday, January 17, 2010

Note on The Pelican History of Music Volume 1 – Ancient Forms to Polyphony

Among the formative influences in the development of western music are some that arise out of the world of the Ancient Greeks, the myth and the epic. Western literature also springs from this same font. Bards sang or talk-chanted the national epic poems describing the gods as they strummed lyres – and ‘poetry and music [were] one in execution.’ It is thought that preludes and interludes played on the lyre were part of the presentation. The term for ‘instrument’ was ‘katharsis’ taken now in English to stand for ‘relieve of emotion.’ Reed-pipes also became part of the act, especially among the Dionysian crew that followed the paths of the vineyards. “Lyric poems were so called from their being sung to the lyre.”

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