‘Without Timotheus, Much of Our Melopoiia Would not Exist; But without Phrynis, There Wouldn’t Have Been Timotheus’

Pherecrates’ Twelve Strings, the Strobilos and the Harmonic Paranomia of the New Music

in Greek and Roman Musical Studies
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

In this paper, I offer a close discussion of the musical innovations attributed to Phrynis, Timotheus and other ‘New Musicians’ mentioned in a famous fragment of Pherecrates’ Chiron, interpreting this fascinating passage in the light of the extant evidence about ancient harmonic theory and practice, as well as the latest research findings. More specifically, I shall advance a new hypothesis concerning the nature of Phrynis’ innovative ‘twister’ (strobilos): producing a special bending (kampē) of a semitone, this gadget allowed Phrynis to combine five different harmoniai (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Iastian and ‘Loose Lydian’) in one and the same twelve-string tuning. Making a subtle modification to this device, Timotheus further expanded the harmonic palette of his twelve-string kithara, introducing the lamenting aulos-mode par excellence, the Mixolydian, into the realm of lyre music. Philoxenus increased this system by adding an extra string, reaching the 13-step arrangement that is at the heart of Aristoxenian harmonic theory.

Sections

References

Barker, A. (1982). The Innovations of Lysander the Kitharist. CQ 32, pp. 266-269.

Barker, A. (1984). Greek Musical Writings 1. The Musician and his Art. Cambridge: CUP.

Barker, A. (1988). Che cos’era la “mágadis”?. In: B. Gentili and R. Pretagostini, eds, La Musica in Grecia, Roma/Bari: Laterza, pp. 96-107.

Barker, A. (1989). Greek Musical Writings 2. Harmonic and Acoustic Theory. Cambridge: CUP.

Barker, A. (2007). The Science of Harmonics in Classical Greece. Cambridge: CUP.

Barker, A. (2015). Porphyry’s Commentary on Ptolemy’s Harmonics. A Greek Text and Annotated Translation. Cambridge: CUP.

Bélis, A. (1985). À propos de la construction de la lyre. BCH 109, pp. 201-220.

Byrne, M. (1993). The Dardanos Fragments and the 40° Angular Lyre. GSJ 46, pp. 3-25.

Csapo, E. (2004). The Politics of the New Music. In: P. Murray and P. Wilson, eds, Music and the Muses, Oxford: OUP, pp. 207-248.

Csapo, E. (2010). Actors and Icons of the Ancient Theater. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

D’Angour, A. (2011). The Greeks and the New. Cambridge: CUP.

Franklin, J.C. (2013). Songbenders of Circular Choruses: Dithyramb and the ‘Demise of Music’. In: B. Kowalzig and P. Wilson, eds, Dithyramb in Context, Oxford: OUP, pp. 213-236.

Franklin, J.C. (2018). Epicentric Tonality and the Greek Lyric Tradition. In: A. D’Angour and T. Phillips, eds, Music and Text in Ancient Greece, Oxford: OUP, pp. 17-46.

Goulaki-Voutira, A. (2001-2002). Music on Phlyax Vases. Imago Musicae 18/19, pp. 35-57.

Guzzo, P.G. (2003). Pompei, Ercolano, Stabiae, Oplontis: le città sepolte dal Vesuvio. Napoli: Electa.

Hagel, S. (2010). Ancient Greek Music. A New Technical History. Cambridge: CUP.

Hagel, S. (2016). An Invention Worth Fifty Cows: Evidence for Supra-Regionality in Tortoise Shell Lyre Construction. In: L. Bravi, L. Lomiento, A. Meriani, and G. Pace, eds, Tra lyra e aulos. Tradizioni musicali e generi poetici, Pisa/Roma: Fabrizio Serra, pp. 157-166.

Hordern, J.H. (2002). The Fragments of Timotheus of Miletus. Oxford: OUP.

LeVen, P. (2011). Timotheus’ Eleven Strings: A New Approach (PMG 791.229-236). CPh 106, pp. 245-254.

LeVen, P. (2014). The Many-Headed Muse: Tradition and Innovation in Late Classical Greek Lyric Poetry. Cambridge: CUP.

Lawergren, B. (1994). Counting Strings on Ancient Egyptian Chordophones. In: C. Homo-Lechner and A. Bélis, eds, La pluridisciplinarité en archéologie musicale, Paris: Editions de la Maison, pp. 519-533.

Lynch, T. (2016a). Why Are Only the Dorian and Phrygian Harmoniai Accepted in Plato’s Kallipolis? Lyre vs. Aulos. In: L. Bravi, L. Lomiento, A. Meriani, and G. Pace, eds, Tra lyra e aulos. Tradizioni musicali e generi poetici, Pisa/Roma: Fabrizio Serra, pp. 267-284.

Lynch, T. (2016b). Arsis and Thesis in Ancient Rhythmics and Metrics: A New Approach. CQ 66, pp. 491-513.

Lynch, T. (2018). The Seductive Voice of the Aulos in Plato’s Symposium: From the Dismissal of the Auletris to Alcibiades’ Praise of Socrates-Auletes. In A. Baldassarre and T. Markovic, eds, Musical Cultures in Sounds, Words and Images, Vienna: Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag, pp. 709-723.

NG (2001). New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford: OUP.

Pöhlmann, E. (2011). Twelve Chordai and the Strobilos of Phrynis in the Chiron of Pherecrates (PCG fr. 155). QUCC 99, pp. 117-133.

Power, T.C. (2007). Ion of Chios and the Politics of Polychordia. In: V. Jennings and A. Katsaros, eds, The World of Ion of Chios, Leiden/Boston: Brill, pp. 179-205.

Restani, D. (1983). Il Chirone di Ferecrate e la “nuova” musica greca. RIM 18, pp. 139-192.

Storey, I. (2003). Eupolis, Poet of Old Comedy. Oxford: OUP.

Storey, I. (2011). Fragments of Old Comedy 2. Diopeithes to Pherecrates. London/Cambridge, Mass.: HUP.

Taplin, O. (1987). Phallology, Phlyakes, Iconography, and Aristophanes. PCPhS 33, pp. 92-104.

Taplin, O. (1993). Comic Angels and Other Approaches to Greek Drama through Vase-Painting. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

West, M.L. (1983). Tragica VI. BICS 30, pp. 63-82.

West, M.L. (1992a). Analecta Musica. ZPE 92, pp. 1-54.

West, M.L. (1992b). Ancient Greek Music. Oxford: OUP.

Winnington-Ingram, R.P. (1936). Mode in Ancient Greek Music. Cambridge: CUP.

Figures

  • The Aristides scales as aulos modes (selection of Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian; half sharp sign ≠ indicates quarter-tone intervals)
    View in gallery
  • The stable framework of lyre harmoniai
    View in gallery
  • The lyre-based, diatonic species of the octave (Cleon. 198-9 Jan, Aristid. Quint. 15.8-20; mesē marked in bold and underlined, St in small caps)
    View in gallery
  • Melanippides’ twelve-string tuning
    View in gallery
  • Phrynis’ Ionian harmonia
    View in gallery
  • Leucas’ tuning mechanisms (Pöhlmann 2011, 128)
    View in gallery
  • Detail of a modern folk harp with sharping levers on C and F strings
    View in gallery
  • E.g. drawings of the strobilos as sharping lever and its holder, based on the Leucas findings and Elgin yoke (diameter ca. 1.7 cm—Bélis 1985)
    View in gallery
  • Details from the Asteas bell krater, Museo Provinciale Pc 1812—pictures courtesy of Gaetano Guida, Settore Musei, Biblioteche e Pinacoteche, Provincia di Salerno
    View in gallery
  • The Asteas bell krater, Museo Provinciale di Salerno Pc 1812—Picture courtesy of Settore Musei, Biblioteche e Pinacoteche, Provincia di Salerno
    View in gallery
  • Phrynis’ strobilos as a modulating key and its movements. 9A: The strobilos starts from its ‘neutral’ position, inserted into the yoke, and is then shifted out of the horizontal groove); 9B: it is subsequently rotated, thereby raising the pitch of the string; 9C: it is inserted again into the vertical groove, securing it in place.
    View in gallery
  • Hellenistic tuning pegs, Dardanos lyre (Byrne 1993)
    View in gallery
  • Phrynis’ strobilos bending the Ionian mode
    View in gallery
  • ‘Loose’ Lydian vs Lydian harmonia
    View in gallery
  • Timotheus’ ‘illegal’ modulation from Dorian to Mixolydian
    View in gallery
  • The ‘hyperbolic’ tetrachord
    View in gallery
  • Philoxenus’ ‘hyperbolic’ harmonia: Hypermixolydian and Hypodorian/Locrian
    View in gallery

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 8 8 7
Full Text Views 3 3 3
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0