On the meaning of αὐλῳδία, αὐλῳδός

TitleOn the meaning of αὐλῳδία, αὐλῳδός
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAlmazova, N
Pagination 5–34

The article takes into account all available literary and iconographical sources on ‘aulodia’, rather scarce compared to those for other genres of Greek solo musical competitions. Images of aulodes occur in vase-painting of VI–V BC. In IV–I BC the word ‘aulodos’ is represented only by epigraphical documents, and ‘aulodia’ is mentioned only by Plat. Leg. 700d. Since the Christian era the evidence is only literary: ‘aulodia’ disappears from the documents, that is, from the program of musical contests.
‘Aulodos’ is a singer; he needed an accompanying aulete who was not considered a competitor in a contest. Agonistic documents indicate age groups of men and boy aulodes. The only genre of aulodic performance mentioned in our sources is a nomos, but the known names of aulodic nomoi are incomprehensible for us. Presumably composers acted sometimes as auletes, but we do not know if music and poetry were usually composed by aulodes, auletes, or other persons. ‘Aulodia’ was estimated lower than other kinds of performance.
Till the turn of I BC the words ‘aulodia’ and ‘aulodos’ are likely to have been technical terms referring not to any way of singing to aulos accompaniment (symposiac lyrics, dithyramb, vocal parts in drama), but to performing an aulodic nomos at a contest. Since the end of I AD these words are sometimes applied to instrumental wind music (‘aulodos’ = auletes, ‘aulodia’ = aulesis, aulema), which seems a part of a broader process of using words originally dealing with singing to designate instrumental sounds. [Nina Almazova]