La citarodia arcaica nella testimonianza degli autori ateniesi d'età classica (ovvero: le insidie delle ricostruzioni storiche) / Archaic kitharody in the light of the testimonia of the Athenian writers of the Classical age

TitleLa citarodia arcaica nella testimonianza degli autori ateniesi d'età classica (ovvero: le insidie delle ricostruzioni storiche) / Archaic kitharody in the light of the testimonia of the Athenian writers of the Classical age
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsErcoles, M
EditorRocconi, E
Book TitleLa musica nell'Impero Romano: Testimonianze teoriche e scoperte archeologiche = Music in the Roman Empire: Theoretical Evidence and Archaeological Findings
Pagination125-137
PublisherPavia University Press
CityPavia
ISBN9788896764022
Abstract

Kitharody represents one of the most relevant forms of musical expression in Greek civilization, from its origins up to the Hellenistic and Imperial age. Despite its importance, it is quite difficult to follow its development in the Archaic age, since ancient sources merely provide some names which are midway between history and legend. The present paper aims at analysing the reconstructions of the ancient history of kitharody provided by poets and scholars, active in Classical Athens (in particular Glaucus of Rhegium fr. 2 Lanata; Timotheus fr. 791, 221 ss. Page; Heraclides Ponticus fr. 157 Wehrli) to evaluate how they worked and how reliable is their work. These reconstructions come from a crucial historical period, when the simple and noble style of musical composition (the so called kalos tropos) used by Archaic poets and musicians gave way to the so called 'new' style of composition, complex and virtuosic. It is a period characterized by a lively discussion between the exponents of the 'new' musical tendencies, such as Timotheus of Miletus, and their critics (Plato, Aristotle and their students). In such a cultural environment the history of kitharody is sketched by the opposing parties in antithetical ways, according to the different aesthetic (and ethical) ideas on music. Representative cases are those of Timotheus and Heraclides Ponticus: the former underlined the elements of continuity between Archaic (and in particular Terpandrean) and his own kitharodic style of composition, in order to justify the new musical trend; the latter, in contrast, gave more relevance to the discontinuity between the two styles and regarded the non-creative kitharodes who performed Homeric verses as being nearer to the Terpandrean manner (or, to be more accurate, he saw Terpander as the protos heuretēs of this kind of musical practice). [p. 125]

Notes

Music in the Roman Empire contains the Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of MOISA, The International Society for the Study of Greek and Roman Music and its Cultural Heritage, Cremona, Aula Magna, Facoltà di Musicologia, Università degli Studi di Pavia, 30-31 ottobre 2008.

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