Echo In Euripides’ Andromeda

in Greek and Roman Musical Studies
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This article argues that Euripides employed a form of musical repetition when staging the character Echo in the Andromeda. In doing so he was drawing on innovations in contemporary musical culture to produce a striking dramatic effect. This hypothesis also suggests a new way of approaching Aristophanes’ parody of Euripides’ Echo in the Thesmophoriazusae.

Echo In Euripides’ Andromeda

in Greek and Roman Musical Studies


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Cf. Gibert 2004156: “In Aristophanes the character Echo repeats the last two Greek words δι’ Ὀλύμπου which mark a metrical pause (period-end) in Andromeda’s delivery. In Eur. a voice from off-stage probably did the same thing though perhaps not so near the beginning of Andromeda’s monody.”


Cf. Austin and Olson 2004322. The phrase is printed as fr. **114a by Snell but is not included in Kannicht’s edition.


Cf. Wilamowitz 1922151-2; Gianotti 1975 74 n. 121 who characterizes Echo as “in sostanza la voce di Fama che diffonde la notizia della vittoria”. Smith (1999 259) argues that “it can be inferred that [Echo] will report his poem verbatim to Cleodamus”. This cannot be right since it would entail a repetition by Echo of the poet’s command to her as well as the invocation of the Graces which would make little sense in the context of the underworld.


Nash 1990101-3 notes that Echo’s statement reworks the announcement of the victory at the games which would have included the victor’s name and patronymic. Cf. Pind. O.8.81-4 where the personified Angelia travels to the underworld; as in O.14 the form of her communication is not explicitly articulated.


For lamentational refrains cf. Alexiou 197411-12134-7; and cf. Finglass 2007 160 for the use of anaphora in laments. A distinction needs to be drawn between common repetition of terms of lamentation such as ἰώ and repetition of the words of one character by another; it is notable that the amoebaeic laments at Soph. El. 121-250; Eur. Med. 131-83 and Hel. 167-228 contain little of the latter. For use of limited verbal repetition see below pp. 62-3.


Thus Gibert 2004156. It is also possible that she was onstage and that the caves were scenographically represented or that ἐν ἄντροις is a characterizing phrase indicating Echo’s usual dwellings (cf. Eur. Hec. 1110 πέτρας ὀρείας παῖς).


For accounts of this process cf. Ruijgh 2001302-15; D’Angour 2006 280-2. We should be wary of seeing too abrupt a shift in the late fifth century from melodies which always respected pitch profile to ones which did not; a certain amount of melodic experimentation of this sort is likely to have pre-dated the period of the ‘New Music’ although that does not mean that their contemporaries were wrong to see the New Musicians as strikingly innovative in some respects.


Cf. Pöhlmann and West 200112-17and also the account of the relation between pitch and melody at Dion. Hal. De comp. verb. 11.


Cf. Ruijgh 2001302and D’Angour 2006 280-2 whose translation I reproduce. Olson in his Loeb edition translates τὸ μέλος αὐτὸ μετενηνοχότα as ‘borrowed the song itself’ understanding the passage to mean that Euripides borrowed the actual melody used by Callias. He then calls this “[a]n almost incomprehensibly odd assertion” (p. 172 n. 250) which it is: why would Euripides have made use of ‘the song itself’ the same melodic structure in a different play writing with different purposes in mind? Olson also mistranslates μεταφέρειν which does not mean ‘borrow’ but ‘transfer’ for which cf. lsjs.v. §a1 3: n.b. that this use differs from the technical use of μεταφέρειν to mean ‘modulate’ at [Plut.] de Mus. 1131b. D’Angour’s reading of the passage is supported by Athen. 7.276a which reports that Callias’ play was the source for the ‘arrangement’ of the Medea and Sophocles’ Oedipus: καὶ γὰρ Καλλίαν ἱστορεῖ τὸν Ἀθηναῖον γραμματικὴν συνθεῖναι τραγῳδίαν ἀφ’ ἧς ποιῆσαι τὰ μέλη καὶ τὴν διάθεσιν Εὐριπίδην ἐν Μηδείᾳ καὶ Σοφοκλέα τὸν Οἰδίπουν. Here τὴν διάθεσιν refers to the structure of the repeated melody rather than to the repetition of the actual melody used by Callias.


Cf. e.g. Rosen 1999Smith 2003 Gagné 2013.


See especially Rosen 1999153-5; Gagné 2013 311-13. On this reading Callias’ play would be responding to the melodic arrangements developed in earlier tragedies rather than influencing them.


This scenario is suggested by Ruijgh 2001309-10 for the choruses of Medea.


Cf. Dale 1967a76-80; Kannicht 1969 60-4 for metrical analysis.


For such repetitions cf. Christ 1879642-4.


Cf. Silk 200048-52who stresses the importance of Euripidean experimentation for Aristophanes.

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