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Old 08-14-2018, 06:58 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Default Heard melodies are sweet?

http://www.openculture.com/2018/08/s...pen+Culture%29
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:45 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
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But those unheard are sweeter. No, I'm very glad to have seen the videos in your link and heard the melodies therein. Absolutely fascinating! I always find it jarring to remember that, say, Medea was "a musical"... (as if she'd do "jazz hands" after killing her children...)--but it seems worthwhile to me to grant the Greeks their "otherness," even as we read them as our intellectual and cultural forebears. I'm getting pretentious, so I'll close by saying I never would have guessed the aulos would've sounded so much like a giant-ass kazoo!

Thanks for this!
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:21 AM
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"After a silence, she [Anna Akhmatova] asked me whether I would like to hear her poetry. But before doing this, she said that she wished to recite two cantos from Byron's Don Juan to me, for they were relevant to what would follow. Even if I had known the poem well, I could not have told which cantos she had chosen, for although she read English fairly freely, her pronunciation of it made it impossible to understand more than a word or two. She closed her eyes and spoke the lines from memory, with intense emotion. I rose and looked out of the window to conceal my embarrassment. Perhaps, I thought afterwards, this is how we now read classical Greek and Latin. Yet we, too, are moved by the words, which, as we pronounce them, might have been wholly unintelligible to their authors and audiences."

- Isaiah Berlin, "Conversations with Akhmatova and Pasternak"
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:46 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
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Thanks for the article, Sam. My undergraduate advisor in the U.C. Berkeley classics department (a quarter-century ago) was keenly interested in the performance aspects of Greek drama, including the music, and was active in several revival productions there:

http://www.classics.berkeley.edu/people/mark-griffith

I salute these sorts of efforts.

Is it churlish of me to wish that the singers involved in that videoed performance (in the article to which Sam linked) were slightly better at listening to each other and producing a uniform blend while singing in unison? Probably. Oh, well, then, I'm churlish.

If folks here are interested, Wikipedia's article on the Seikilos Epitaph features a recording of a delightful singer performing from ancient Greek musical notation, and approximating Koine pronunciation. If you're not familiar with the backstory of that particular inscription (on a funerary column), I'll just share this bit:

Quote:
in about 1893, as it "was broken at the bottom, its base was sawn off straight so that it could stand and serve as a pedestal for Mrs Purser's flowerpots"; this caused the loss of one line of text, i.e., while the stele would now stand upright, the grinding had obliterated the last line of the inscription.
[FACEPALM]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 08-26-2018 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 05:15 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Sam, I love this. I can see what the goddess meant about the aulos-face, though. A beard helps.

Julie, I wish I understood what it meant to listen to the other singers and blend in. I am one of those people who simply can't sing in anything other than an informal solo situation with kind people or when very drunk and in the company of drunker others. Even then I can see the winces and notice how soon it is that someone speaks up and suggests a tour of the garden or a bite to eat.

In church, even when it's an easy Wesley hymn and I love it enough to want not to hurt it, I find that all I can hear is my own voice, off-key and loud, echoing as if I'm bellowing into a bucket. I can't hear anyone else unless I shut up myself. So I mime - if I were performing Gray's Elegy I'd be the silent tenor. Nor can I understand how anyone can make a particular note come out in response to a blob on a stave.

But I am not bad at Tibetan overtone chanting, which is a wonderful way of repelling cold-callers if you start low and build up to weapons-grade intensity over the course of a couple of minutes.
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:47 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
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I sometimes wonder if poetry attracts a higher proportion of people with amusia than the general population.

The dear friend of mine who introduced me to Richard Wilbur's work is profoundly tone-deaf. I had no idea for a whole decade, so I kept giving her free tickets to my concerts. I was stunned to find out later that she can barely tell one tune from another. Apparently she's almost as bad as Horatio Hornblower, who could only recognize when a band was playing the national anthem because all the men would remove their hats. Every song just sounded like noise to him. Apparently my friend kept coming to these things only out of loyalty to me, not because she actually enjoyed music. Now that's a friend!
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:31 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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But I enjoy music and can hear it enough to recognise it, love it, be moved by it, remember it and reproduce it in my head. I can even demonstrate a tune to others sometimes - "it goes like this..." - It's just others' voices I can't hear when I'm "singing" with mine, so that I offend those who can. It's like doing an outside broadcast with headphones. I have never yet come across a real singer who actually understands this. Maybe I really am the only one.

I only mentioned it because of what you said about the singers in Sam's clip falling short of your expectations and wondering if a few of them, too, had bucket-head syndrome, which causes distress to the "musically competent" (the term used in the Wikipedia entry). Perhaps my Battery is flat - Oh God, O Montreal!

Edited in: No - I'm not the only one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpsXNlarAk8
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 08-27-2018 at 05:15 AM. Reason: adding documentary evidence in support of my case.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:23 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Julie Steiner, so shall we all be ground.
Ann Drysdale, I have perfect pitch but cannot tell what pitch it is.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 08-27-2018 at 11:26 PM.
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