There’s old music, and then there’s oooollldd music. 2,500 years old.
Music scholars are recreating ancient Greek songs that haven’t been heard for thousands of years. The results aren’t very inspiring, but we’re finally getting a sense of what the ancients were listening to.
Recreating music is a daunting task for historians and musicologists, especially considering that formal music notation wasn’t developed until much later.
Thankfully, these researchers have some clues to go by. And this is precisely what Oxford musician and classics expert Armand D’Angour has been studying.In a recent BBC article written by D’Angour, he points out that the epics of Homer, the love-poems of Sappho, and the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripdes were all originally sung to music performed on the lyre, reed-pipes, and various percussion instruments.
“The rhythms – perhaps the most important aspect of music – are preserved in the words themselves, in the patterns of long and short syllables.”
- Listen to 2,500-year-old music brought back to life (io9.com)
- How did ancient Greek music really sound? (bbc.co.uk)
- Bbc News: How Did Ancient Greek Music Sound? (musicofthebiblerevealed.wordpress.com)