Epicentric Tonality and the Greek Lyric Tradition

TitleEpicentric Tonality and the Greek Lyric Tradition
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFranklin, JC
EditorPhillips, T, D'Angour, A
Ancient AuthorsPindarus Lyr. (TLG 0033), Plutarchus Biogr., Phil. (TLG 0007), Aristoxenus Mus. (TLG 0088), Terpander Lyr. (TLG 0299)
Book TitleMusic, Text, and Culture in Ancient Greece
PublisherOxford University Press

This chapter presents core evidence supporting the thesis that vestiges of the classical Mesopotamian tuning system, going back at least to the Old Babylonian period (c.2000–1600 BCE), can be detected in the earliest Greek material relating to the seven-stringed lyre—a standard configuration from Mycenaean times until the fifth century. Independent development is ruled out by the shared conceptual and practical emphasis on a middle string in both systems. Collation of the two sets of evidence permits reconstruction (mutatis mutandis) of several features of both a practical and conceptual nature. This material imposes a well-defined set of tonal parameters for analysing and imagining the music of Archaic poetry or later work that consciously maintained or alluded to those early conventions. [https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780198794462.001.0001/oso-9780198794462-chapter-2]


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