The History of Western Music in My Eyes [II. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome]

When talking about ancient Greece and ancient Rome, the image in everyone’s mind is probably those bearded statues, or the philosophy of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the science of Archimedes, etc. However, when it comes to music, many people may be blurred.

Strictly speaking, this chapter is the most difficult to write, after all, the ancient Greek and Roman music, that is basically only textual records of some fragments, not even the formation of notation, which gives me to describe the music of this period, invariably increased the difficulty, after all, the music of the Middle Ages can barely be reproduced, the music of the ancient Greek and Roman period is really only from the text of a glimpse of the charm.

I. Those people and those things in ancient Greece and ancient Rome

This phase is divided into, Ancient Greece (c. 1650 ~ 146 B.C.) and Ancient Rome (146 B.C. ~ 476) Two periods whose history can be subdivided into several epochs. This section quickly clarifies, in as brief a language as possible, some of the major historical events of the last thousand years of the history of ancient Greece and Rome. Convenient to set the stage for the rest of the story.

A particularly interesting thing to say at the outset is that while ancient Greece and Rome were the source of Western civilization, today’s Europeans, and the The people of the ancient Greek and Roman periods were largely unrelated by blood. The vast majority of Europeans today are descendants of the Germans, Slavs and Celts. These three nations were scorned by the Romans as “the three barbarians” during the time of the Roman Empire, which led to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Germans played a big role, what a turn of events, the heavens have spared no one (dog’s head)

1. Ancient Greece (c. 1650~146 B.C.)

1. the Mycenaean civilization (c. 1650~1100 B.C.): it originated at a distance from the Greek mainland. Crete, located in the Aegean Sea [1]. Therefore, some people also divide this period into two and call them the Cretan and Mycenaean civilizations. The most famous event of this period was the Trojan War [2], from which the historical allusion to the Trojan horse came, and later on The Iliad in Homer’s epic is based on this historical event.

Homer’s period (1100-800 B.C.): This period is naturally based on the famous blind Greek poet Homer’s poem “The Iliad”, which is based on the historical event of Homer. Names are given by name, and most of what is known about this period comes from the Homeric poems. The most important event of this period was the invasion of Greece by the Dorians[4] and the Greeks began to set sail for Crete. and part of it went to the Aegean Sea and the coasts of Asia Minor, which made the Aegean Sea the inland sea of Greece.

(iii) The City-State and Archaic periods (800-338 B.C.): also known as the Classical period. The chronological definition of this period has traditionally been somewhat controversial, but I argue from a materialistic point of view that this period. As Greek civilization entered the territorial limits of the Greek mainland, the mountainous and fragmented land, the city-state became the most widespread expression of power and society, and thus made the This division of time. The most famous city-states of this period are Athens, Sparta[5] and Thebes, and the most famous events are the Hippo War[6] and the Peloponnesian War [7]. After the Peloponnesian War, Greek democracy began to weaken and the Hellenistic period came.

④ Hellenistic period (336-31 B.C.): in 336 B.C., Alexander [8] inherited his father’s throne and became king of the kingdom of Macedonia. Alexander conquered the four corners of the earth and surpassed his ancestors in merit, causing many of the Greek city-states to submit. Macedonia was originally an obscure region in northern Greece, but it was the last to laugh. It is noteworthy that Alexander did not really unify Greece, but more in the flavor of an allied ally that forced Greece to The city states submitted. He eventually died young, followed by the Roman invasion in 146 B.C. and the fall of Greece.

2. ancient Rome (753 B.C. ~ 476)

① Roman Kingship (753~509 B.C.): also known as the Roman Tribal Period, this period began with the B.C. Rome was marked by the founding of the city in 753. Rome’s home at that time was on a few small dirt slopes on what is now the Italian peninsula, and Rome was still gathering strength at this time, when it was still Greek world.

② During the Roman Republic (509~27 B.C.): in 509 B.C., the Roman tribes rose to power and established a republic. The Roman Republic was founded. The most famous of this system were the consuls and the senate, which began with a term of office for the consuls and gradually evolved into a lifetime dictatorship. The consul, best known as Caesar[9], was assassinated by the Senate, although his nephew Octavian [ 10] turned back and eventually became the first head of state of the Roman Empire, and Rome entered the Roman Imperial Period.

(iii) Roman Imperial Period (27 B.C ~ 476): since Octavian became the first head of the Roman Empire, the map of Rome Rapidly expanding, it eventually became a vast empire spanning Asia and Africa and Europe, far superior to that of ancient Greece. By the time of Diocletian[11], the Roman Empire was growing weaker, and Diocletian divided Rome into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. Two emperors ruled under each emperor, known as the “Four Emperors”, but were unable to save the Roman Empire from decline. In 325 A.D., Constantine the Great[12] briefly reunified the Roman Empire until 476 B.C., when, as mentioned above, the Roman Empire was reunited. As stated, the Western Roman Empire was invaded by the Germans to the north and it fell.

What about the Eastern Roman Empire? He lived well for another thousand years until the West entered the Renaissance and the Eastern Roman Empire fell. Different lives for the same people (dog’s head)

II. Music of Ancient Greece and Rome

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome were essentially one and the same in music, and as for Ancient Rome, in characteristics Basically in line with Ancient Greece, the comparison differs only in the advances made in musical instruments. So this paragraph focuses on the achievements of ancient Greece in musical genre, music theory, and musical outlook (or musical ethics). There are also the instruments of ancient Greece, and ancient Rome will not be too long.

1: Ancient Greece.

① Ancient Greek musical genres: lyric, cantata and tragedy.

One of the characteristics of ancient Greek music was that the notes and the words were closely related, and that the words took precedence over the notes.

Plato, for one, argued that “rhythm and tune should be made to conform to the words, and not the words should be made to accommodate the rhythm and tune.” This of course seems rather absurd today, but it had a huge impact on the art of music at the time.

Hymns: The earliest recorded music in ancient Greece dates from the Homeric period, which historically was the period of the Great Migration of the Greek population. period, during which the territory of Greece expanded, the Aegean Sea became its inland sea, and eventually four major races were formed, with Doria as the main one . The Greeks produced a type of choral music during this period, the carol. The carol was a choral monophonic[13] weave of music (in fact all music in ancient Greece was monophonic), which was originally Hymns were only meant to glorify the sun god, and later came to refer generically to a genre of choral music that glorified God, the most famous hymns being the sun god hymn and the Ode to the God of Wine. It is worth noting that the Ode to the God of Wine was a precursor to the ancient Greek tragedies.
Lyric: During Homer’s time, the mass migration of the population led to the rapid development of commerce and industry and the accelerated disintegration of clans. This led to the gradual dissipation of the collectivist sentiments of the Greeks, which were replaced by a wealth of individual emotional experiences. Against such a background, a very unique genre was born in ancient Greece – the lyric poem. It seems to be a literary genre, but in fact it is a combination of literature and music, rich in rhythm and beautiful in style. Lyric poetry is divided into many themes, such as satire, lyre, etc. The most outstanding lyric poet recorded is Sappho [14], she is Plato praised her as “the tenth muse”, a poetess of great importance in the history of the West. Although only the text of Sappho’s poem has been handed down to us, I can still feel in its exquisite words that Sappho was playing the lyric. The kind of rhythmic beauty that plays and sings itself.
Ancient Greek tragedy: In the 6th century B.C., from the carols of the goddess of wine emerged Ancient Greek tragedy, the most important of all ancient Greek music. A genre, the opera of the Baroque period had drawn its nourishment from ancient Greek tragedy. The earliest Greek tragedies evolved from festivals that celebrated Dionysus, the god of wine (i.e., cantatas), which became independent. The development of the show gradually expanded from a choir of 2 people to 15 people, usually about 3-5 plays. The theme of the work is mainly based on ancient Greek mythology and the scenes (there was no concept of “curtain” at this time). The main representatives of ancient Greek tragedy are Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The years in which they lived were the early years, the height and the decline of Greek democracy, respectively, so that the content of their works reflects to some extent The colors of the time. The works represented are Prometheus the Bound (Aeschylus), Oedipus the King (Sophocles), Troy The Women (Euripides), etc.
Ancient Greek drama is not only tragedy, but also comedy, but the achievements and significance of the ancient Greek comedy can not be compared with the tragedy, and the representative of the only Aristophanes has works, compared to the tragedy of the fruitful, indeed relatively little.

② Ancient Greek music theory: four-note sequence and complete sequence system, harmony theory.

Although there was no notation in ancient Greece, there were many philosophers who explored the theory of music. The tetrameter is one of the most important achievements of the ancient Greek music theory. As to who first put forward the tetrameter, it is too far back in time to be found, but some people think it was the famous music theorist of ancient Greece. Aristoxenos [15] (Aristoxenos), although it is not clear whether it is a four-note sequence theory of the proposer, but it is certain that he made a great contribution to the theory.

According to Aristosenos, the complete fourth is the smallest harmonic interval, the first and last two tones of the four-note series form the complete fourth, and the remaining tones make changes within the framework of the fourth, and the first four-note series had only one tone in the middle, and later gave birth to the three basic forms of the natural four-note series, the chromatic four-note series, and the differential four-note series.

This achievement led directly to the formation of the complete system of tone series, the ancient Greek period. It is a scale that uses several (usually 2) tetraphic series to form the lower row of notes, and all of them use the natural tetraphic series.

The ancient Greeks moved up and down and varied the sequence system to obtain a number of scales, each based on several of the important of the tribe to name it.

First, there are four key tonalities

Dorian: mi re do si – la sol fa mi
Phrygian: re do si la – sol fa mi re
Lydian: do si la sol – fa mi re do
Mixo-lydian: si la sol fa – mi re do si

Next are four submodulations that use the above primary modulation as a basis for downward panning full fourths.

Lower Victoria (Hypodorian): la sol fa mi – re do si la
Lower Friesian (Hypophrygian): sol fa mi re – do si la sol
Hypolydian: fa mi re do – si la sol fa
Hypo-Mixo-Lydian: mi re do si – la sol fa mi

Two very important points need to be made. First, the idea of organizing these scale sequences has little to do with today’s concept of tonality, mostly indicating a symbol such as Used to represent the strings of a lira [16] or the pitches of an afro [17], in principle somewhat similar to the modern guitar sextet , denotes position rather than a specific sound; secondly, since the lower mixed Lydia is identical to Doria, we generally consider the ancient Greek There are a total of seven rather than eight scales of sound.

Harmonism: Pythagoras [18] of the ancient Greek period was the first recorded Western writer to use a mathematical approach to explain to people the The great man of musical phenomena, mainly by comparing and calculating different string lengths. He himself did not write, and Euclid [19] elaborated on Pythagoras in his own work, “Seeking the Law from the String Count Ideas, mainly.

String length 9:8, two notes are one whole note apart (this does not refer to a 12th equal tempered semitone), a whole note cannot be divided into two equal semitones.
For 2:1, two notes with an octave interval, an octave less than 6 whole tones is considered as an overlap or repetition.
For 3:2, two intervals of fifths, where the fifth is less than 3 whole tones plus a semitone.
For 4:3, two intervals of four notes, the fourth is less than two whole notes plus a semitone.
Only fourths, fifths, and octaves are harmonious intervals, the rest are discordant intervals.
As you can see, Pythagoras’s theory was very different from the present day twelve averages, but after all, Pythagoras was undoubtedly very forward-thinking to be able to use a mathematical deconstruction of music in the circumstances of the time.

Although in the preliminary stages of exploration, ancient Greek music theory still laid the strongest foundation stone for classical Western music, that is, the initial beginning of organizing notes in the environment of monophonic musical weaves and presenting them in sequences of notes, allowing for the initial exposure of the logical relationship between sounds and tones.

(iii) The ancient Greek view of musical ethics

The ethical view of music is the view and perception of the social functionality and ethical nature of music, which, although not much related to music itself, should be leaned on a little more ideologically and philosophically.

Plato, in his works The Ideal State and Timaeus, has detailed the ethical role of several scales in ancient Greece: ‘Doria’ Wealthy manhood makes one strong and temperate; Phrygia makes one ecstatic; Lydia makes one weak and lascivious; mixed Lydia makes one Sorrow.”

(4) Ancient Greek musical instruments: the lira and the aphoros pipes

Lyre: A very old plucked string instrument with a long history. Originally made of tortoise shell, it has four strings, which are made from animal intestines or tendons, and later developed into seven strings, called ki. The Sala (Kithara), is considered the instrument of the sun god. The lira is characterized by its more narrow resonance box, so it is better suited as a self-playing instrument rather than for larger performance situations .

The Aulos, a wind instrument of the ancient Greek period, is the ancestor of modern wind music. The Aulos consists of two pipes, one long and one short, each with several hole positions. The sound is closer in tone to the oboe in modern brass music, and the aulos, which has two pipes, is capable of producing two notes at once. Like Kisala, which corresponds to the sun god, the aphrodisiac was considered the instrument of the goddess of wine, and many ancient Greeks generally drank wine and played the aphrodisiac. Los tubes are made together.

2. Ancient Rome

After the fall of ancient Greece in 146 BC, Rome became the successor and champion of its culture, and the music was pretty much the same. Down the line, the changes were not very noticeable, mainly in the advancement of the two instruments and the birth of Christianity [20]. It is worth mentioning that the Romans, although inheriting the musical culture of the ancient Greeks, had a very different attitude, with the ancient Greeks being more The Romans regarded music as a noble accomplishment, while the ancient Romans were more concerned with the hedonistic and practical aspects of music.

1) Warlike peoples, the development of military music

The ancient Romans conquered the world and were an uncompromisingly warlike people, and military music began to develop rapidly in this environment. The ancient Romans began to use a large number of loud brass instruments in military music, in some of the big performances, sometimes up to hundreds of pieces! Even hundreds of wind instruments are compiled, and the atmosphere is extraordinary.

② Hedonism, the birth of the water-pressure organ

The ancient Romans were very keen to watch the gladiatorial battles (a warlike people after all) and the former Colosseum is located in what is now Rome, Italy.

In order to add to the atmosphere while watching the gladiatorial battles, the water-pressure organ was born. This was the earliest pipe organ[21] and became an iconic instrument of the time. (Forgive me, I really can’t find a picture of it)

(3) The Birth of Christianity and Early Christian Music

In the 1st century A.D., Christianity was born in the region of Palestine in ancient Rome, where it was first an illegal religion, spread in secret, and in 313 A.D., Constantine the Great (I’ve talked about this great man before, so you can read back on your own) issued the Edict of Milan, thus making Christianity a legal religion, which grew rapidly, and Constantine himself was baptized into the religion on his deathbed.

The earliest Christian music was solemn, purely vocal, and was opposed to the use of musical instruments. The exuberance and splendor of musical instruments very easily caused the faithful to recall various celebrations, wars, etc., and most of those who could play instruments were folk entertainers, not subject to the The church welcomed it. Even vocal music (chant) was changed from being sung by everyone in the earliest days to being sung only by trained choirs later.

In 476 A.D., the Western Roman Empire fell, but Christianity was handed down, beginning the following 1,000 years of the Middle Ages.

The long, dark medieval period was finally about to begin.