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Issue 2
(Spring 2003)

contents

abstracts

contributors

abstracts

 

Stelios Psaroudakes: Primaeval aerophones and the doubtful evidence from Dispelio

 

A bone with holes in it, found in 1995 in the Neolithic lake settlement of Dispelio (Kastoria, Hellas), was characterised by the excavators as a wind musical instrument (flute). However, a comparison of the Dispelio artefact with other Neolithic flutes found in Hellas, and with Palaeolithic flutes found in various other parts of the world, shows that there are significant structural differences between them, and it cannot, therefore, be maintained with certainty that the Dispelio bone was, indeed, a flute.

 

 

Dimitri Sykias: Figure and Affect in Baroque Music

 

Common ideals regarding composition and performance was the main identifier of the new art style, which began to be established around the year 1600 in Europe, known as Baroque. Composers and theorists, such as Athanasius Kircher, Franz Joachim Burmeister, Christoph Bernhard and Johann Matheson, developed theories (Musica Poetica, Doctrine of Figures and Affektenlehre, among others), borrowing ideas, terms and structures from Rhetoric, the ancient art of effective speaking and writing. Carefully examining how language is working in writing and speaking, these writers came to the conclusion that does exist a close relation between the construction of a speech and a piece of music. They believed that is possible to consider musical elements that refer to actions, things, movements, impressions. In this paper I attempt to present a twofold historical and practical exposition of oratory and music oratory.

 

 

Haris Sarris: “This guy has learned to play the lyra at the crossroad!..”. An initiation myth from Crete

 

According to a myth prevalent in Crete, anyone who wants to learn how to play the lyra perfectly has to go to a crossroad at midnight. There he marks a circle on the ground, and stabs a black-hafted knife in the middle. Staying in the circle, he starts to play his lyra in his own way. After a while the spirits of the crossroad come. They can’t harm him because of the protective circle, so they try to make him come out, promising that they will teach him to play the way they do. The lyra-player-to-be has to be brave and patient till dawn. The spirits ask him to give them anything he wants for them to teach him. The lyra player puts the tip of his little finger out of the circle and the spirits cut it. After this sacrifice, they teach him to play like them and they disappear.

In this paper are presented several variations of that myth. We analyze “step by step” the magic symbols of that initiation ritual, using the formalistic analytical method for magic rituals of Marcel Mauss. Afterwards, taking into consideration the motif of the sacrifice of the tip of the little finger, we investigate the special role of that finger in the playing technique of the old type of Cretan lyra. Finally, we are trying to set forth an explanation of the ritual in terms of music transmission in traditional societies.

 

 

Dimitrios Balageorgos: Hymnopsaltics of the Holy Week

 

By the present research, an effort becomes to enlighten the beauty of three liturgic arts – this of the liturgic, this of the hymnology, and this of the psaltic art – and thus to provide the masterpieces of these arts, which serve the liturgic life of the Church and the salvation of the believers, through the most important period of the ecclesiastical year, the Holy Week. The devouted adorable actions of the Holy Week are approached with the density of the subjects, the variety of the readings, the great number of the performed, the insuperable poetic beauty of the hymns, the highest dogmatic and educated content, the admirable various modes, and the chant designs; and the basic tucks of the Holy songs are presented as well as these of the symphonic chant of the daily office of the Holy Week.

 

 

Panaghiotis Adam: Thomas Mace’s Musick’s Monument. A 17th century instruction manual

 

The article presents a description of the second part of Mace’s Musick’s Monument (1676), combined with parallel passages from other baroque sources. It aims at offering a glimpse into ideals and practices of the period as regards musical training. Among others, it is shown that training was based on actual music, not exercises, as well as the development of the student’s judgement and initiative; that improvisation and composition were considered both interrelated and a necessary element of the musician’s skills; and that the character of a piece was of paramount importance for composer and performer alike.

 

 

Smaragdi Boura: Abu Naşr Muhammad al-Fārābī and the ancient Greek musical heritage

 

The famous Arabian philosopher Abu Naşr Muhammad al-Fārābī (870-950 A.D.) was one of the most prominent and fascinating figures of Arabic intellectual and cultural Renaissance. The “Second Teacher” after Aristotle – as he was referred to by his contemporaries – was recognized for his high intellectual activities, which included the translation and commentary of important ancient Greek philosophical texts, the development of distinctive philosophical and political theories and his teachings on music. Although al-Fārābī’s treatises on music are only a small part of his corpus of work, his contribution to the discipline of musicology is invaluable. Apart from the Great Book of Music (Kitāb al-mūsīqī al-Kabīr) – an absolutely outstanding work, which might be characterized as an “encyclopedia” of music of that time – we are now in possession of his two treatises on rhythm and a section on music from his “Enumeration of sciences”.

The main concept put forward by the scholar in the opening of the Great Book of Music is that the study of music is a form of “theoretical art” and as such it comprises of “principles” and “what is after” them. Here is where we find ourselves in the domain of philosophy as the generic “theoretical art” – the “art” of philosophy based on the Aristotelian logical model, from “causes” to “consequences”. The Great Book of Music consists of two parts: the first one, which is an introductory part, is entitled “The Introduction to the Art of Music” and puts forward “the principles” of al-Fārābī’s distinctive method in Music Theory, a kind of epistemology of this science; the second and main part titled “The Art of Music Proper” is dedicated to the study of “the existent beings” of this art, which means in the language of philosophy the ontology of music. This part is subdivided into three sections embracing what is stemming from the “principles”, namely the elements of Music Art and their application in particular contemporary musical instruments and in musical composition and performance.

 

 

 
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