What difference does music make to performance poetry, and how did the ancients themselves understand this relationship? Although scholars have long recognized the importance of music to ancient performance culture, little has been written on the specific effects that musical accompaniment, and features such as rhythmical structure and melody, would have created in individual poems. This volume attempts to answer these questions by exploring more fully the relationship between music and language in the poetry of ancient Greece. Arranged into two parts, the essays in the first half engage closely with the evidential and interpretative challenges posed by the interaction of ancient music and poetry, and propose original readings of a range of texts by authors such as Homer, Pindar, and Euripides, as well as later poets such as Seikilos and Mesomedes. While they emphasize different formal features, they also argue collectively for a two-way relationship between music and language: attention to the musical features of poetic texts, insofar as we can reconstruct them, enables us to better understand not only their effects on audiences, but also the various ways in which they project and structure meaning. In the second part, the focus shifts to ancient attempts to conceptualize interactions between words and music; the essays in this section analyse the contested place that music occupied in the works of Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and other critical writers of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. Thinking about music is shown to influence other domains of intellectual life, such as literary criticism, and to be vitally informed by ethical concerns. These essays illustrate the importance of music for intellectual culture in ancient Greece and the ancients' abiding concern to understand and control its effects on human behaviour.
Recent decades have seen a major expansion in our understanding of how early Greek lyric functioned in its social, political, and ritual contexts, and the fundamental role song played in the day-to-day lives of communities, groups, and individuals has been the object of intense study. This volume places its focus elsewhere, and attempts to illuminate poetic effects that cannot be captured in functional terms alone. Employing a range of interpretative methods, it explores the idea of lyric performances as 'textual events'. Some chapters investigate the pragmatic relationship between real performance contexts and imaginative settings, while others consider how lyric poems position themselves in relation to earlier texts and textual traditions, or discuss the distinctive encounters lyric poems create between listeners, authors, and performers. Individual lyric texts and authors, such as Sappho, Alcaeus, and Pindar, are analysed in detail, alongside treatments of the relationship between lyric and the Homeric Hymns. Building on the renewed concern with the aesthetic in the study of Greek lyric and beyond, Textual Events aims to re-examine the relationship between the poems' formal features and their historical contexts. Lyric poems are a type of socio-political discourse, but they are also objects of attention in themselves. They enable reflection on social and ritual practices as much as they are embedded within in them, but as well as expressing cultural norms, lyric challenges listeners to think about and experience the world afresh.
What difference does music make to performance poetry, and how did the ancients themselves understand this relationship? Although scholars have long recognized the importance of music to ancient performance culture, little has been written on the specific effects that musical accompaniment, and features such as rhythmical structure and melody, would have created in individual poems. This volume attempts to answer these questions by exploring more fully the relationship between music and language in the poetry of ancient Greece. Arranged into two parts, the essays in the first half engage closely with the evidential and interpretative challenges posed by the interaction of ancient music and poetry, and propose original readings of a range of texts by authors such as Homer, Pindar, and Euripides, as well as later poets such as Seikilos and Mesomedes. While they emphasize different formal features, they also argue collectively for a two-way relationship between music and language: attention to the musical features of poetic texts, insofar as we can reconstruct them, enables us to better understand not only their effects on audiences, but also the various ways in which they project and structure meaning. In the second part, the focus shifts to ancient attempts to conceptualize interactions between words and music; the essays in this section analyse the contested place that music occupied in the works of Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and other critical writers of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. Thinking about music is shown to influence other domains of intellectual life, such as literary criticism, and to be vitally informed by ethical concerns. These essays illustrate the importance of music for intellectual culture in ancient Greece and the ancients' abiding concern to understand and control its effects on human behaviour.
Recent decades have seen a major expansion in our understanding of how early Greek lyric functioned in its social, political, and ritual contexts, and the fundamental role song played in the day-to-day lives of communities, groups, and individuals has been the object of intense study. This volume places its focus elsewhere, and attempts to illuminate poetic effects that cannot be captured in functional terms alone. Employing a range of interpretative methods, it explores the idea of lyric performances as 'textual events'. Some chapters investigate the pragmatic relationship between real performance contexts and imaginative settings, while others consider how lyric poems position themselves in relation to earlier texts and textual traditions, or discuss the distinctive encounters lyric poems create between listeners, authors, and performers. Individual lyric texts and authors, such as Sappho, Alcaeus, and Pindar, are analysed in detail, alongside treatments of the relationship between lyric and the Homeric Hymns. Building on the renewed concern with the aesthetic in the study of Greek lyric and beyond, Textual Events aims to re-examine the relationship between the poems' formal features and their historical contexts. Lyric poems are a type of socio-political discourse, but they are also objects of attention in themselves. They enable reflection on social and ritual practices as much as they are embedded within in them, but as well as expressing cultural norms, lyric challenges listeners to think about and experience the world afresh.
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