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Encyclopedia > Delphic Hymns

The Delphic Hymns are two musical compositions from Ancient Greece, which survive in substantial fragments. They are dated c.138 BC and 128 BC. The earlier of them, the First Delphic Hymn, is the earliest unambiguous surviving example of notated music from anywhere in the western world. The Temple to Athena, the Parthenon Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around three thousand years. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC - 130s BC - 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC Years: 143 BC 142 BC 141 BC 140 BC 139 BC - 138 BC - 137 BC 136 BC... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC 130s BC - 120s BC - 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC Years: 133 BC 132 BC 131 BC 130 BC 129 BC - 128 BC - 127 BC 126 BC...


The First Delphic Hymn was written to Apollo. It was found inscribed in stone in Delphi in 1893 by a French archaeologist; all that is known about its composer is that it was written by an Athenian, around 138 BC, since the part of the inscription giving the name of the composer is difficult to read. The Second Delphic hymn is slightly more recent, and has been dated to precisely 128 BC; evidently it was first performed in the same year. The name of the composer has also survived, in a separate inscription: Limenius. The occasion of the later hymn was the Pythian Festival, and the earlier hymn was probably written for the boys choir at the Pythian Games in 138 BC. Lycian Apollo, early Imperial Roman copy of a fourth century Greek original (Louvre Museum) In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo (Ancient Greek , Apóllōn; or , Apellōn), the ideal of the kouros (a beardless youth), was the archer-god of medicine and healing, light, truth, archery and also a... Delphi (Greek Δελφοί, [ðe̞lˈfi]) is an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in a valley of Phocis. ... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα - Athína) is the largest city and capital of Greece, located in the Attica periphery of central Greece. ... Limenius (2nd century BC) was an Athenian musician and the creator of the Second Delphic Hymn in 128 BC. He is the earliest known composer in recorded history for a surviving piece of music. ... View of the stadium of the Delphi sanctuary, used for the Pythian Games. ...

The first portion of the First Delphic Hymn, to be played on the kithara; the next section, not shown, is to be played on the aulos.
The first portion of the First Delphic Hymn, to be played on the kithara; the next section, not shown, is to be played on the aulos.

Media:1st delphic hymn.mid Image File history File links First Delphic Hymn, 138 BC, by an anonymous Athenian for the Pythian Games. ... Image File history File links First Delphic Hymn, 138 BC, by an anonymous Athenian for the Pythian Games. ... The kithara was an ancient Greek musical instrument. ... A nude youth plays the aulos at a banquet: Attic red-figure cup by the Euaion Painter, ca. ...


Some of the pitches in this version are mere guesses (as to the readable pitches, see Egert Pöhlmann).


The First Delphic Hymn is monophonic, consisting of a single melodic line, and it is in the cretic meter, which is quintuple. It is in the Dorian mode — not the Dorian mode as known in the present day, but rather as it originally was in Ancient Greece, roughly corresponding to the present day Phrygian mode (the names of the modes were mixed up by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, who translated ancient Greek theoretical writings into Latin in the 6th century, and the confusion has remained). In addition to being the earliest surviving substantial fragment of ancient music, the First Delphic Hymn is also the longest; unfortunately it is not a complete composition (the Seikilos epitaph, dated anywhere between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD, is the earliest surviving complete piece of music). In music texture is the overall quality of sound of a piece, most often indicated by the number of voices in the music and to the relationship between these voices (see below). ... Cretic or amphimacer feet are a unit of prosody that contain three syllables, metrically long, short, long. ... Particularly, this article is not about Hymn meters, as often found on hymn tunes Meter (UK spelling: metre) is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed beats, indicated in Western music notation by a symbol called a time signature. ... Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode can refer to two very different musical modes or diatonic scales. ... Due to historical confusion, Phrygian mode can refer to two very different musical modes or diatonic scales. ... Boethius teaching his students (initial from a 1385 Italian manuscript of the Consolation of Philosophy) Boethius redirects here. ... Music Theory is a field of study that investigates the nature or mechanics of music. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... This Buddhist stela from China, Northern Wei period, was built in the early 6th century. ... The Seikilos epitaph is famed as the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the western world. ...


Exact performance practice is unknown, but Limenius is mentioned in a separate Delphic inscription as a master player of the kithara; likely he accompanied a singer or singers. While the kithara was used for the first section of the first hymn, the second section is to be performed on the aulos; it is also considerably chromatic. Whether the performer played the same music as the singer(s) in unison, or embellished the melodic line in a heterophonic texture, or played a drone, or improvised some form of counterpoint, are unknown; reconstructions of ancient Greek music are highly controversial, and the sources are often contradictory. The kithara was an ancient Greek musical instrument. ... A nude youth plays the aulos at a banquet: Attic red-figure cup by the Euaion Painter, ca. ... In music, chromatic indicates the inclusion of notes not in the prevailing scale and is also used for those notes themselves (Shir-Cliff et al 1965, p. ... Look up heterophony in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout much or all of a piece, sustained or repeated, and most often establishing a tonality upon which the rest of the piece is built. ... In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm, and interdependent in harmony. ...

Photograph of the original stone at Delphi containing the second of the two hymns to Apollo. The music notation is the line of occasional symbols above the main, uninterrupted line of Greek lettering.

Image File history File links Delphichymn. ... Image File history File links Delphichymn. ...

References

  • Annie Bélis: "Les Hymnes à Apollon", Corpus des Inscriptions de Delphes, tome III, Paris, 1992 (ISBN 2-86958-051-7)
  • Warren Anderson/Thomas J. Mathiesen: "Limenius," Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed August 24, 2005), (subscription access)
  • Harvard Anthology of Music. Two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1949. ISBN 0-674-39300-7
  • Egert Pöhlmann: "Documents of ancient Greek music : the extant melodies and fragments" / ed. and transcribed with commentary by Egert Pöhlmann and Martin L. West. - Oxford : Clarendon Press, 2001. - 222 S. : Ill., ISBN 0-19-815223-X

Recordings

  • De la Pierre au son : Musiques de l'Antiquité Grecque / Ancient Greek Music, Ensemble Kérylos, directed by Annie Bélis (1996), K617-069

External links


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