Horace’s Odes and the mystery of do-re-mi

TitleHorace’s Odes and the mystery of do-re-mi
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsLyons, S
TranslatorLyons, S
Ancient AuthorsQuintus Horatius Flaccus (PHI 0893)
Number of Pagesviii + 244 pp.
PublisherAris and Phillips

Lyons's acclaimed verse translation of the Odes is here fully revised and included with revealing new material on Horace and the nature of his work. The book describes the life and times of Horace. It places his experiences and writings in the context of the civil wars and the Augustan Age, and explains how his literary career was bound up with the rise and fall of his sponsor Maecenas. It brings together compelling evidence that Horace composed and conducted the Carmen Saeculare for the Centennial Games of 17 BC, and that his odes were indeed carmina: songs. Horace was not just a superb literary craftsman, but a musician, songwriter and entertainer for the Roman elite, creating a new Latin idiom derived from Greek lyric song. A final chapter, "Horace, Guido and the Do-re-mi Mystery", the result of careful research and detective work, argues that Guido d'Arezzo, an eleventh-century Benedictine choirmaster, used the melody of Horace's Ode to Phyllis to invent the do-re-mi mnemonic, but applied it to an eighth-century Hymn to John the Baptist ("Ut queant laxis") by Paul the Deacon, keeping the true source secret. A musical comparison of the Horatian melody and Guido's version of "ut-re-mi" is included. [http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/horace-s-odes-and-the-mystery-of-gdo-re-mi-g.html]


Arctos 2012 46: 272-273 Kimmo Kovanen

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