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227Re: [Authentic_SCA] Vocal music and Languages

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  • stephen higa
    Mar 7, 2001
      > But what I was asking was not about the performance techniques of
      > antiquity, but whether amateur musicians during the Renaissance might have
      > tried to mimic an idealized version of epic song - setting bits of Homer to
      > music in the way they imagined the ancients might have done it. I do
      > suspect this is true, but I was wondering whether anyone could support
      > that.

      It seems very probable to me.

      > music. (Moshe once invented a melody for reciting a portion of Beowulf -
      > it was awesome. He also has a CD of reconstructed ancient Greek music
      > which I am *sure* he will let me borrow, right?).

      Of COURSE I will, dearie. :) The Beowulf thing was more of a "recitation
      formula" than a "melody" per se. Interestingly (perhaps ;)), I incorporated
      a melodic phrase I heard in a Greenland Inuit epic, which sounded
      surprisingly similar to Scandinavian ballad melodies...perhaps this points
      to a general "Northern" musical aesthetic?

      > are they indeed the same scales the Greeks used, and weren't they
      > carried through to the Middle Ages?

      The Arabs, especially al-Farabi (9th/10th c.) and Ibn Arabi (13th c.),
      studied the ancient Greek musical treatises and philosophies for their
      descriptions and formulations of the maqamat (modes; singular, "maqam") that
      persist in Arab music even to this day. The Arabs brought modal theories
      into Europe through Spain and Italy in the early Middle Ages, and Byzantium
      helped, too. If you listen to Ancient Greek music, you hear a lot of modes
      similar to the Arab maqamat (we had to memorize several maqamat and be able
      to identify which one(s) were used in a given song...argh! it helps in
      performing/reconstructing period Arabic music, though, one of my favorite
      projects). And when you listen to folk music in Spain today, you hear the
      maqamat again. Unfortunately, apparently the medieval European musicians
      and composers only liked some of them; you only get ones that are similar to
      the ones you hear in European music today. The Arabs in Spain also
      abandoned many of them in favor of more European modes, like al-Istihlal
      (similar to C major but with B flat on the descent). I'm currently
      attempting to formulate a melody for a 12th c. Hebrew muwashshah (sung poem)
      and this is the mode I'm going to use.

      Of course, these are just theories. The Europeans could have very well come
      across the Greek modes themselves, or already had them in their indigenous
      musics. Patterns of influence are sometimes very difficult to trace.

      What was I talking about? Sorry, I don't remember if this has any

      "Do not take a liking to poison just because there is an antidote."
      --Shinran (1173-1262)
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