Musical syncretism and the Greek orientalizing period

TitleMusical syncretism and the Greek orientalizing period
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsFranklin, JC
EditorHickmann, E, Eichmann, R, Kilmer, AD
Book TitleArchäologie früher Klangerzeugung und Tonordnung = The Archaeology of Sound: Origin and Organisation
VolumeStudien zur Musikarchäologie 3, Orient-Archäologie 10
Keywordsetnoantropologici (aspetti), lyra e kithara, Terpandro di Lesbo, tonos

This study identifies an occurrence of musical syncretism, a subject of much recent ethnomusicological scholarship, in the early Archaic period of Greece. The tradition that Terpander rejected "four voiced song" in favor of new hymns on the seven-stringed lyre (fragment 4 Gostoli) may be understood as alluding to an encounter between two musical traditions during the Orientalizing movement of c. 750-650 B.C. The seven-stringed lyre corresponds to the heptatonic classical music widely practiced in the ancient Near Eastern courts, as known from the diatonic tuning system documented in the cuneiform musical tablets. 'Four-voiced song' must be understood as describing the inherited melodic practice of the Greek epic singer. The syncretism of these two traditions may be deduced from the later Greek theorists and musicographers. A number of non-Aristoxenian sources define the microtonal genera as modifications of the diatonic, while Aristoxenus' own rule of 'continuity' or 'cohesion' (synecheia) required the genera to conform to minimum conditions of diatony. [John Curtis Franklin]


The Archaeology of Sound: Origin and Organisation includes papers from the 2nd Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology at Monastery Michaelstein, 17-23 September 2000. And: Music Archaeology of the Aegean and Anatolia. Papers from the colloquium on Music Archaeology organised by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (Istanbul) in cooperation with the ICTM Study Group on Music Archeology (6th meeting) and the Institut Français d' Archéologie (Istanbul), Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, 12-16 April 1993.


Site information

© 2007-2012 MOISA: International Society for the Study of Greek and Roman Music and Its Cultural Heritage

Site designed by Geoff Piersol and maintained by Stefan Hagel
All rights reserved.