Review: [untitled] Author(s): Douglas Feaver Source: The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 122, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp.

436-440 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 12/08/2011 20:27
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classical scholarship lacked a good book in English on the subject of Greek music as a whole. 1. and readers who are dedicated and careful will be rewarded with a solid understanding of a very complicated subject. This is one of the most interesting and thorough studies ever undertaken on the subject of ancient Greek attitudes toward the dead. West.6). or an . "clear. Despite the apparent organizational problems. D. M. Rpt. M.436 BOOK REVIEWS misinterpreted: Johnston rightly notes that these dead are not biaiothanatoi because they died honorably in battle. It would be almost impossible to find a topic that has been overlooked. and au? thoritative. but she concludes. and the often hypothetical nature of the arguments. which ignores the larger context of haunted battle sites and the possibility that the souls of the dead are not actually involved in the ghostly reenactment. West's book has filled that gap admirably. "The implication is that their ability to return to the upper world is a boon. in both of these stories the dead show no interest in interacting with the living. Ancient Greek Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. and so may fall outside the scope of Johnston's investigation. as its publisher claims." There can be no doubt that the book is comprehensive." I fear the average unmusical student of Greek culture will eventually be totally lost in the jungles of Greek terminology or swept away in a torrent of unfamiliar names.." It is as clear as humanly possible. this book remains a fascinating study that adds a great deal to our knowledge of how the ancient Greeks perceived and dealt with those among them who had passed away. 1994.00. "Comprehensive. and. lamentably. Johnston also does not mention Plutarch's story of the haunted baths at Chaeronea (Cim. Paper. L. Of course." "Clear. which in truth often focuses more on the angry dead than on the restless dead.424 pp. It is indeed. Alhough it "presupposes no special knowledge of music. A similar fate awaits the nonclassical student of musicology. 1992. $28. Felton University of Massachusetts at Amherst e-mail: felton@classics. given the incredible complexity of the topic. comprehensive. But West has done a superhuman job of explaining everything step by step. in spite of the indisputable prominence mousike had in Greek culture.umass. L. Johnston writes with an infectious enthusiasm and an expert handling of a variety of difficult and fragmentary evidence. But these minor criticisms should not discourage anyone from reading this book. For many years." There is absolutely no precedent for this interpretation. a reward for their exceptional bravery while alive. which were abandoned because of the disturbances there. which will be of particular use to those who study ancient religions.

which are supposed to have such moral power that it is appropriate for a legislator to promote some and ban others. and. I did. stringed instruments. in the text or bibliography. especially in areas of special expertise. he reaches no decision as to what. and diatonic. There are chapters on music in Greek life. Readers will have to wait for chapter 6 to learn what West thinks about this issue. but they are not "modal" (in the Western sense of scales differentiated by varying patterns of large and small intervals).BOOK REVIEWS 437 ancient author that has been slighted or misrepresented. He then discusses "ambitus" or the region of the normal tessitura. He is usually right. then the anatomy of the fourth into genera. "Authoritative. West begins with the anatomy of the octave. A discussion of the scales described by the fifth-century theorist Damon follows. The last group makes a distinction between the tunings of theory and those of the actual tunings used in practice by (contemporary?) musicians. Barbour. M. theory." Modern scholarship has been thoroughly canvassed. He then discusses the "fine tuning" represented by the shades (chroai) treated by the Pythagorean. wind and percussion. and so on). 63 cents sounds like. West does not refer to F Kuttner and J. which has various scales. is the "modes" (harmoniai)." whose purpose is facilitating modulation. with the ethnic epithets Dorian. note one serious omission. West comes down with a magisterial conclusion. . The Theory of Classical Greek Music (Musurgia Records 1955). notation and pitch. With his characteristic thoroughness. and a historical synthesis (in two parts). especially if they are studying Plato or Aristotle. tonoi." which evolves into a fournote unit with the small interval divided into smaller units (conventionally called "quarter tones"). . He mentions an earlier "pentatonic trichord. This book has a recording that allows one to hear the various phenomena discussed. we cannot recognize what is meant in modern theory by "mode. exactly. interpreting (convincingly) "slack" as referring to pieces of music largely confined to the lower register and "tense" as the opposite. new ones grew" (184). The topic that most classicists are likely to be interested in. . There follows a thorough canvas of the ancient literature to expound references to the various harmoniai and their alleged moral and psychological effects. Aristoxenian. Unfortunately. melody and form. these harmoniai were. such as rhythm and ancient poetry. One truth emerges: the harmoniai were not "fixed and unchanging." Tonoi turn out to be "keys" not "modes. after a judicious and thorough laying out of the evidence. chromatic. enharmonic. the voice. affording an enormous improvement over trying to guess what an interval of. rhythm and tempo. Even after the consolidation of the scales into the "perfect immutable system" (a master scale. West similarly dismisses the concept of "octave species" . musical documents." This bold claim is largely justified. Old ones were discarded. scales and modes. however. however. say. Controversial issues are not evaded. The book ends with an epilogue on the place of Greek music "between Europe and Asia. and Ptolemaic theorists. Phrygian.

both double and beating tongue. cut in two. A characteristic effect is the "pentatonic" skipping of the "g" in the tetradchord of "e f g a. I do not want to leave the impression. Ptolemy's even diatonic happens to exhibit the same modal determinant (12) that Schlesinger labels "Dorian" (for reasons that in cents.10:9?or. In his discussion of the reeds used by the auloi. 150. though they will have at least been disabused of the misleading translation "mode. as weil as the enharmonic of Didymus and the even diatonic of Ptolemy. for example. our luckless unmusical students still will not know what a harmonia is.163. West records the results of experiments determining intervals between holes of surviving auloi. I wish to say categorically that this is not true. slit the reed with the "mouth" at the end where the cut was made). the concept of "modal determinant" that Kathleen Schlesinger advances in The Greek Aulos (London 1939). Trusting his impression of the literary and artistic evidence." even the Elgin auloi on which she bases her theories?and she is aware of this. so we cannot assess the validity of the results (99-101)." as in the character of Scottish bagpipes." He goes on to say that the "mouth" of the tongue being at the point where the reed stern was cut in two and the advantage of this mouth closing naturally only seem to make sense if the reeds in question are double.183. but the twin blades of a double-reed mouthpiece. Very few pipes and flutes from around the world have holes gradually decreasing in spacing as one ascends the scale or with differentiated hole sizes to achieve the same result. even to refute. The reason I do not completely dismiss Schlesinger's findings is that a remarkable number of scales described by the Pythagoreans in mathematical enharmonic and terms fit her concept of "Modal Determinant" exactly?the chromatic of Eratosthenes. a book which he describes as "massive" and "terrifying. I find." I share his reaction to that book. including the Elgin auloi. however. This suggests to escape me). that this concept does have analogies with the modern notion of "mode. he refers (84) to a passage from Theophrastus that describes the making of a pair of reeds. and have played them in pipes." He ends with the discouraging conclusion that "any song might create its own modality" (188). no one knows exactly what these famous scales sound like. This issue arises again in the chapter on theory.438 BOOK REVIEWS as helpful. If you follow Theophrastus' instructions (retain the nodes.11:10. but without including the essential information of the extension of the mouthpiece or the type of reed used. But it is equally true that none have the geometrically graduated spacing that modern (Western) and true Aristoxenian theory and practice demand. you do ." The truth is. that I agree with all its conclusions. in my enthusiastic admiration for the thoroughness and brilliance of West's book. I have made dozens of reeds. After all this. however. me that she was on to something. It is true that not all the surviving auloi have holes "equally spaced. which discusses the nature of Greek scales in more depth and complexity.This is: 12:11. West declares that the plural "tongues" does not refer to "separate mouthpieces of a pair of auloi. West does not discuss. for example.

a translation that fits the music is possible. and 28 are accentually compatible (granting that acutes can use the same high notes as the circumflexes). 8. because the readings of the papyrus are not complete.8ia jneooco 8tt6t? icdA." Nuernberg." for example). The instruction about making the mouth at the end where the cut was made provides a clear witness that the tongue in question is one in which the hinge is the node. The reason why the original cuts should retain both nodes is now plausible. and because the undoubted negative mede may be negating the verb sigato (to be silent). which is not so if the reeds are double. who seek to encourage sun. at the Aphrodite poem of Sappho. Perhaps we can postulate some kind of "melodic syncopation"? For the chapter on documents. unfortunately. 20.BOOK REVIEWS 439 not and cannot end up with a double reed. just in the last lines of the stanzas we see the following: Line Line Line Line Line Line Line 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 rcoTvia Buuov xpuoiov fjMtet. which. On the issue of accentual response (199) in strophic verse: although I stand by my article on the Orestes fragment ("The Musical Setting of Euripides' Orestes. moon. Otherwise he has largely followed Egert Poehlmann ("Denkmaeler altgriechischer Musik. He has also provided English translations. West rectifies a false . the instructions are perfectly valid for beating-tongue reeds. On the other hand. I am less categorical about strophic poetry in general. for example. I believe that the situation is more complex than is understood." for example. West translates the first sentence as urging the elements of nature to be silent. 1970) in the standard publication of the music. -po<. In his two chapters on the history of Greek music. and the rest of all nature to join in the praise (Saint Francis's "All Creatures of Our God and King. With just a little poetic ingenuity.r|uua d8ncr|?i yoOTcp' kotjk Edekoiaa o\)jnfiaxo<. In his transcription of the "Christian Hymn" (324-25). I have made some for the "Seikelos Song" and the "Christian Hymn. This intrigued me. Line 12 is compatible on the final two syllables and ambiguous elsewhere. Lines 16 and 24 "violate" the accentual pattern of the first (and last) verse but are compatible with each other. We need not postulate an early dissent from this attitude. Just a minor note of theology. are not compatible with the music and cannot be sung even by a musical reader. West has adopted the very helpful strategy of transposing the pieces into simpler keys. stars. since this is a sentiment contrary to the usual attitudes of Jewish and Christian poets. This is relevant to discussions of the technique of drawing up and down on the reed (103)." AIP 81 [1960]: 1-15).eooo Lines 4. Look.

with a few items from the Christian period. 5 plates. Good-bye at last to "flute girls" and angels playing "harps. Though Callimachean polyeideia cannot be weil understood without the lambi.440 BOOK REVIEWS impression that has misled many previous discussions of the subject: that there is such an entity as "Greek music" which is unchanged from the earliest times to the late antiquity. Now. makes the collection due for a major reassessment. He begins rather inexplicably by dismissing the evidence of the Cycladic statuettes from the Greek islands on the grounds that these were "nonHellenic.3146@compuserve. The aulos is a reed Arnd Kerkhecker. and in Alan Cameron's iconoclastic Callimachus and His Critics (1995) a bit more than five out of five hundred. The lambi have been slow to profit from Callimachus' recent popularity. and through the "new music" of the end of the fifth century. As if the . short survey of the lambi. Oxford: Clarendon 1999. however." DOUGLAS FEAVER University of the Nations. Gone are "lyric" poets who "recite" (instead of sing) their poems. signifying nothing very certain. it is hard to see how it could be otherwise. Press. Kailua Kona e-mail: 74552. the lambi claim scarcely two pages out of two hundred. $85. Callimachus' Book of lambi. It is overwhelmingly clear that although there is undeniable continuity. Then follows the Roman period. The comprehensiveness that characterizes the book has its occasional downside. It has filled the lamentable void in classical scholarship. book-length readings of the collection. xxiv + 334 pp. even though our much changed sense of the archaic iambicists. West's book is a monument of classical and musicological achievement and will serve as the standard reference work on the subject of Greek music for generations to come. archaic. In Hellenistica Groningana 1 (1993). These criticisms are all minor. The kithara is not a harp but a lyre. but two. and early classical periods. Cloth. With characteristic thoroughness he takes us through the he not an does mention (though Mycenaean unpublished pipe found at Mycenae by Schliemann that could provide a connection with the Cycladic data). With Aristoxenus and the Peripatetics we enter the Hellenistic age.00. we have not one. which in places are little more than a tale told by a diegete. Not only the nonclassicist musicologist but also the ordinary classicist may weil be daunted by the glut of unfamiliar names and terminology. there was enormous change over time. an equally nonHellenic group." although he accepts the evidence from the Minoans. not a flute. readers continue to be daunted by these difficult fragments. Given West's aim of discussing everything. twenty years after Dee Lister Clayman's fine. especially Archilochus.