Music and the Muses: the culture of 'mousikē' in the classical Athenian city

TitleMusic and the Muses: the culture of 'mousikē' in the classical Athenian city
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
EditorMurray, P, Wilson, P
Number of Pagesxiv + 438 pp.
PublisherOxford University Press
KeywordsAtene, etnoantropologici (aspetti), politica, religione

What was the role of mousike, the realm of the Muses, in Greek life? More wide-ranging in its implications than the English 'music', mousike lay at the heart of Greek culture, and was often indeed synonymous with culture. In its commonest form, it represented for the Greeks a seamless complex of music, poetic word, and physical movement, encompassing a vast array of performances - from small-scale entertainment in the private home to elaborate performances involving the entire community. Yet the history of the field, particularly in anglophone scholarship, has been hitherto narrowly conceived, and the broader cultural significance of mousike largely ignored. Focusing mainly on classical Athens these new and specially commissioned essays analyse the theory and practice of musical performance in a variety of social contexts and demonstrate the centrality of mousike to the values and ideology of the polis. The so-called 'new musical revolution' in late fifth-century Athens receives serious treatment in this volume for the first time. A major theme of the book is the musical and mousike dimension of Greek religion, rarely analysed in its own right. The ethical and philosophical aspects of Athenian mousike are another central concern, with the figure of the dancing philosopher as an emblem of music's role in intellectual life. The book as a whole provides an integrated cultural analysis of central aspects of Greek mousike, which will be of interest to classical scholars, to cultural historians, and to anyone concerned with understanding the power of music as a cultural phenomenon. []


BMCR 2004.7.16 Matthew Wright; Aestimatio 2005 2: 109-119 Massimo Raffa; Arctos 2006 40: 244 Stephen Evans; Athenaeum 2007 95 (2): 959-963 Alfredo Rizza; CR 2005 n.s. 55 (2): 485-487 Deborah Tarn Steiner; Kernos 2005 18: 535-537 Ellen Van Keer; RFIC 2006 134 (2): 214-225 Gianfranco Mosconi; Sehepunkte 2005 5 (10) Andrea Scheithauer

Table of Contents

Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson, Introduction: Mousikē, not Music [1-8].

Part I. Mousikē and Religion
Alex Hardie, Muses and misteries [11-37]
Barbara Kowalzig, Changing choral worlds: song-dance and society in Athens and beyond [39-65]
Ian Rutherford, χορὸς εἷς ἐκ τῆςδε τῆς πόλεως (Xen. Mem. 3.3.12): song-dance and state-pilgrimage at Athens [67-90]
Paola Ceccarelli, Dancing the Pyrrhichē in Athens [91-117]

Part II. Mousikē on Stage
Eva Stehle, Choral prayer in Greek Tragedy: euphemia or aischrologia? [121-155]
Claude Calame, Choral forms in Aristophanic comedy: musical mimesis and dramatic performance in classical Athens [157-184]
Andrew Barker, Transforming the nightingale: aspects of Athenian musical discourse in the late fifth century [185-204]

Part III. The Politics of Mousikē
Eric Csapo, The politics of the New Music [207-248]
Robert W. Wallace, Damon of Oa: a music theorist ostracized? [249-267]
Peter Wilson, Athenian strings [269-306]

Part IV. Mousikē and Paideia
Andrew Ford, Catharsis: the power of music in Aristotle’s Politics [309-336]
Victoria Wohl, Dirty dancing: Xenophon’s Symposium [337-363]
Penelope Murray, The muses and their arts [365-389]

Bibliography [390-429]
Index [431-438]

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