Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Response...

I recently did a guest post on Amalia Dillin's blog and got a response from Gary Corby who is a FOR REAL author. (because I am a fake one.)

Anyway, he made an interesting point and I feel as though I need to respond. Here is the comment:

"This is terrific stuff!I suspect there's a certain amount of extrapolation in that music sample, even granted that the modal system makes it possible to guess how the rest ran.Every ancient music sample I've ever heard goes for something sombre, yet based on random comments from ancient sources, most Greek music must have been bouncy for dancing. This is the highbrow stuff, like the ancient equivalent of opera!"

Besides being completely FLATTERED that he thinks my "stuff" is "terrific", I am also COMPELLED to explain why the majority of music that survived and can be performed with some degree of accuracy is of a somber, ceremonial nature and not the dancy fancy music that many Greek writers and artists depicted. (Know that some of this is my own conjecture, not fact)

First and foremost: Music in ancient Greece was most often improvisational in nature and that is how musicians were trained to perform it. In case you don't know what that means, improvising meant making it up on the spot and mixing and matching it to fit the event that it was supposed to accompany. A wild orgy-tastic dance party would require a different sort of music than music performed simply to accompany a lavish banquet or entertain an important personage.

As you can imagine, this music was NOT written down. And if it was, whatever it was written on was probably not meant to last. Music like that did not have to ever be performed twice.

What music that we HAVE uncovered, particularly the oldest of songs and fragments of songs, were either carved into stone or stored in such a way that it would last and someone could pick up the music and perform it exactly as it was written.

For example, the song featured in my guest post (A fragment of a chorus from Euripides' Orestes) was written on parchment. I am not sure if I am correct in this, but I think the fact it was written on partchment is pretty significant and the fact that it was written down at all is even more significant. Regardless, it is obvious that Euripides wanted the song performed the same way for every performance. Also, because the song involved multiple performers, it was probably a fast(er) way for everyone to know what to sing or play.

One other famous example is the Song of Seikilos (pictured above), actually one of the only songs that we have found completely intact. This song was carved into stone in Seikilos' wife's grave which is probably the only reason it has survived.

Both of these were songs that were MEANT to stand the test of time, whether for repeated performance or as a rememberance to a loved one. Since this performance was of a pretty depressing drama and the song came from a grave, both were understandably somber and sad. The majority of other songs that we have found are of the same ilk so that is why the majority of songs we can perform with any accuracy are these types of songs.

Here this song is probably pretty accurate. And a little more upbeat!

Sappho's Wedding Hymn

Monday, February 21, 2011


Well last week was the WRONG WEEK for me to get ambitious. I had tons of commissions come in and tons of unusual appointments and lesson makeups and... well there were just LOTS OF EXCUSES TO PUT IT OFF OK!!

I will try to do better this week. ;_;

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I hope you all enjoyed my guest post on Good to Begin Well; Better to End Well. I thought it was of extreme interest! If you didn't enjoy it, go do so right now! There will be more to follow in that line.

Well then!! Today is my first MTNA Theory Test. I have only one student taking it but that is a start!!! It also helps that I am completely unworried about how she is going to do on the test. She has pretty much aced every practice test I have given her. But everyone keep their fingers crossed anyway. I know I am also supposed to be monitoring another exam about which I know NOTHING until I get there. No pressure.

Things coming up this week:

1) A compare and contrast article about all of the different keyboard instruments (THROUGHOUT HISTORY) ... That makes it epic.

2) Some new Quilt commissions

3) Some character designs for a children's book that my fiance and I are going to work on. (If I have time)

Stay tuned :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Music of Antiquity

Yep. I wrote a guest post for Amalia's Blog with some BASIC EDUMACATION about music in Ancient Greece. I think it's a fascinating subject as well as the transition from Music in the Greek and Roman Empires to music in the early Christian church. Also I have recently done some comparing and contrasting with music developing at the same time in China and other eastern countries. I am sure I will be talking about it sometime soon.

But in the meantime!!

Go here and read my post!

Good to Begin Well; Better to End Well: Music of Antiquity

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hello, people who might be coming here from Amalia's blog. I know there's not much to see yet but there will be lots more in the future. I have PLANS.

So follow me if you like.

Particularly since it will motivate me to get off my ass and actually follow through with this.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Well, hello blog, that I wrote in like... TWICE. I have to say. I have excuses. Personal victory followed by personal tragedy... But now I'm ready to be back and start WRITING AND DRAWING AGAIN.

Also I'm about to write a guest post for someone else so we gotta make this look GOOD.... in 3 days.

Not gonna happen.

But if you are interested in Music History and coming here from Amalia's blog. I am planning on putting up lots of musings about my research and interest in the subject. Oh if I could go back to school..... again....

Maybe someday.