Stanley Lombardo Reads Iliad Book I

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Eureka
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Post by Eureka » Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:00 am

swiftnicholas wrote:Verses 8.272-275 in the Danek/Hagel recitation are rendered so beautifully; I keep listening to them over and over.
I agree. Unfortunately I don't have a phorminx (those 4-stringed lyre thingys), or the ability to use one. So anything I do will only be a guide for those wanting to sing it themselves, not a proper performance.




There're a few odd things about that performance, though. He does seem to sing unnaturally high. So much so that you couldn't imagine him singing at any great volume. As a result of that, he also sings quite fast. That would make it difficult for any bard to remember the next verse fast enough.

It's sounds as if he's trying to match his voice to the pitch of the phorminx. I'd be surprised if there was any written evidence to support that.

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Post by annis » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:01 pm

Eureka wrote:There're a few odd things about that performance, though. He does seem to sing unnaturally high.
This may be intentional. I have this idea in my brain (it might have come from a book - it might not have, I cannot recall) that Greek and Roman public speaking was pitched higher to cut through ambient noise better. Without amplification, everything that helps you be heard is good.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by chad » Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:17 pm

hi eureka, taking into account all the qualifications i give to the old model above :) :) here's how line 1 would go, if qea\ was grave (i.e. following the Perseus rather than OCT reading):

[E]mh=[O maybe]nin [H]a)/eide [C]qea\ [A]Phlhi+a/dew [A])Axilh=oj

the evidence (at least as i read it) shows that graves tack on to the front of a word the way enclitics tack on to the end. so qea\ Phlhia/ would be a steadily rising sequence of syllables, with the last syllable as the highest pitch.

re catathesis and anathesis, you can read Avery Andrews' summary of Devine and Stephens:

http://arts.anu.edu.au/linguistics/Peop ... /pitch.htm

also you can see D&S itself. they show that, like other pitch languages today, accented pitches in a clause drop successively, and then anathesis is the word Andrews uses to name the pattern just in ancient greek that, after a grave-accented word, the next accent is higher than normal.

quickly re the other things, West (in the best authority on greek music) said that greek music from all the ancient descriptions was most probably more high-pitched than we'd expect, given the things it was comapred to, and i think it's accepted by all scholars in this area that the pitch of the singing rigidly follows the instrumental in non-strophic music, west talks about this and so do the other books on greek music. :)

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Post by Eureka » Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:18 am

I have to say, the higher pitch works well for lines whose last syllable has an acute (especially line 7). Since the pitch is already high, the climb at the end doesn’t feel unnatural.

Seeing as the pitch is the same as that of the phorminx (or moreover, the kithara), it may be possible to be certain about which key to use. Is it known exactly what the notes on these instruments were?


As for the qualifications, I realise that the system is not known for certain. On the other hand, it’s likely to be heavily related to reality.

It’s good to see (on that site you linked to, Chad) that the Greeks probably had a little pitch freedom. Therefore, while the position of the pitch drops would have dictated by Homer (excluding the inevitable changes to his poems over time), some notes can surely be changed by a semi-tone or so according to the bard. So, there is more than one way to be technically correct.

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Post by Eureka » Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:54 am

chad wrote:hi eureka, taking into account all the qualifications i give to the old model above :) :) here's how line 1 would go, if qea\ was grave (i.e. following the Perseus rather than OCT reading):

[E]mh=[O maybe]nin [H]a)/eide [C]qea\ [A]Phlhi+a/dew [A])Axilh=oj
So, what would the red letters be if thea has an acute?

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Post by chad » Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:33 am

hi eureka, they'd be as i've done them in the actual document..., i.e. [C] would change to [E], i.e. if you follow OCT and other's edition, with commas around the qea/, then the pitch resets at the start of qea/ and at the start of Phlhia/dew.

re the musical key, i've never been able to find a definitive answer on this, i've looked through west and others; my best guess based on the age of homer and what we know about ancient greek musical history and theory of scales is that it'd be in the enharmonic scale keyed to the Dorian mode. even this doesn't give precision, since there were several "dorian modes". I'm sure it would have been described somewhere random in greek literature, maybe in one of the literary critics or in the Deipnosophists or something it'll be identified...

I'm looking forward to hearing your recording :) :)

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Post by Eureka » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:25 am

Oops, I hadn’t noticed those letters on the bottom of each line. :)

OK, I’ve tried reconstructing line 1 with a grave. I’m not sure when we switch from one letter to the next (which particularly affects the 2nd syllable of “Phlhiadew”).

What I get, using your numbering system, is:
mh 2-5 nin 4 a 3 ei 4 de 3 qe 2 a 1 Ph 3 lh 3 (or perhaps 4) i 2 a 1 dew 4 A 3 xi 2 lh 2-4 os 5

It’s basically the same as with the acute, but from “ei” to “Ph” each note is one tone higher.


Does this look right to you, or have I misunderstood something?


Also, are you sure about the end of line 19 (the way it goes down on the 2nd syllable of [face=SPIonic]i9ke/sqai[/face], despite having an acute there)?

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Post by chad » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:39 pm

hi eureka, if you treat "1" as the top pitch as you did above, i'd do it this way if qea/ was grave (the red numbers are the ones which i've changed):
mh 2-5 nin 4 a 3 ei 5 de 6 qe 6 a 5 Ph 4 lh 3 i 2 a 1 dew 4 A 3 xi 2 lh 1-4 os 5
also nb the 2nd syllable of mh=nin should really be 6. but there's a phenomenon called secondary rise which is statistically significant in extant greek music: if the interval between the last syllable of a word and the next syllable is more than a certain amount (1.5 tones if i remember), then that last syllable of that first word is higher, rather than lower, than the penultimate. it's unclear in my model how many of the 7 pitch levels you need to have as an interval for this to occur, particularly when you take into account different scales having different intervals between the notes. that's why i marked it above as "maybe". :)

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Post by Eureka » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:12 am

Ah, cheers. I see the mistake I was making. I’ll keep reconstructing lines until I consistently get the same results you did.


That secondary rise must be present in this line, because regardless of whether thea has an acute or a grave, “nin” cannot be at 6. If it were, then the first syllable of “aeide” would sound completely out of place.

(It’s easy to justify things like this retrospectively, of course, but in this case, the line would be almost unpronounceable without the secondary rise.)

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Post by chad » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:58 am

hi Eureka, i don't know if it'd help but i just put on that old temp web site an updated pitch document which i did in october last year, where i changed the way i annotated the pitch to make it more logical and to show what was happening.

http://iliad.envy.nu

i also just put the first few lines of the acharnians on, to show you how i personally use the pitch model now: i.e. not to map out the whole music for a text, but just to quickly chart in excel the first few lines of a new poetry style i'm studying, to see how the rhythm and pitch might go together. it's a hideous .pdf since the unicode didn't .pdf but i thought it might be useful to see what (limited) use i make of it now, for this purpose i still use it; i'm not going to fix up the .pdf though because it's just a copy of my working notes. :) :)

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