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Ancient Roman Music

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Ancient Roman Music LUTE The lute, the true forerunner of the guitar (kithara), is considered a medieval instrument but was played by the ancient Romans. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ancient Roman Music


1
Ancient Roman Music
2
LUTE
  • The lute, the true forerunner of the guitar
    (kithara), is considered a medieval instrument
    but was played by the ancient Romans. The image
    above was from the late Roman era in
    Constantinople, perhaps 500 AD. The Roman lute
    had three strings and was not as popular as the
    lyre or the kithara, but was easier to play.

3
LUTE
  • The lute, the true forerunner of the guitar
    (kithara), is considered a medieval instrument
    but was played by the ancient Romans. The image
    above was from the late Roman era in
    Constantinople, perhaps 500 AD. The Roman lute
    had three strings and was not as popular as the
    lyre or the kithara, but was easier to play.

4
LUTE
  • The Egyptian lute predates the Greek lute and is
    basically the same except more slender. It also
    had "f-holes" straddling the strings, allowing
    the frets to reach down to the bridge.

5
ORGAN
  • Organs powered by bellows were commonly played at
    the games, and also in more serious settings.

6
ORGAN
  • The Roman organ, called a hydraulicis, was often
    played at Colisseum events where gladiators
    fought and criminals were publicly executed.
    Perhaps they even had a version of "Take Me Out
    to the Ball Game" or some crowd favorites. In the
    mosaics below the organ is played along with
    horns resembling French horns and military style
    trumpets. Like most things Roman, the organ came
    orignally from the Greeks. It is possible the
    Greeks got it from the Hebrews.

7
ORGAN
  • the organ would appear to have between 8 and 12
    pipes. The Roman organ was powered by a bellows
    and pumped by foot.
  • The Roman organ was also played in more
    respectable settings such as the chamber style
    music being played by the ladies in the image
    below. In this image the organ has many more
    pipes, perhaps 30, but the smaller pipes may
    extend in a double row. These pipes are clearly
    smaller in proportion to the Colisseum organ and
    the assembly more delicate overall. The large box
    underneath surely contains a bellows and perhaps
    even an air bladder. In this setting the bellows
    may have been operated separately.

8
ORGAN
  • The ancient Jewish organ called the magrepha in
    the Talmud predates the Roman organ, possibly by
    several centuries. The magrepha had ten pipes
    with ten holes each and could produce one hundred
    different notes, according to Samuel. It was
    normally played in synagogue services.
  • The Roman organ had levers or keys that operated
    flaps over the holes. The larger organs may have
    had arrays of flaps to create chords with a
    single movement.

9
ORGAN
  • Vitruvius provided diagrams of the hydraulicis
    like the one above and explained their design and
    operation

10
KITHARA
  • The kithara, the "guitar" of the ancient Romans,
    was the premier musical instrument and was played
    in both serious and popular music.

11
KITHARA
  • The Kithara was the premier musical instrument of
    ancient Rome and was played both in popular music
    and in serious forms of music. Larger and heavier
    than a lyre, the kithara was a loud, sweet, and
    piercing instrument with precision tuning
    ability. It was said some players could make it
    cry.

12
KITHARA
  • From Kithara comes our word guitar, and though
    the guitar more directly evolved from the lute,
    the same mystique surrounds the guitar idols of
    today as it did for the virtuoso kithara players,
    the citharista, and popular singers of ancient
    Rome.

13
KITHARA
  • Like other instruments, it came originally from
    Greece and Greek images portray the most
    elaborately constructed kitharas.

14
KITHARA
  • It was considered that the gods of music, the
    muses and Apollo, gave kithara players their gift
    to mesmerize listeners.

15
LYRE
  • Perhaps the most ancient of stringed instruments,
    the lyre appears in endless forms, in all
    settings, and everywhere from Greece, to Troy, to
    Persia and Egypt.

16
LYRE
  • The lyre dates back beyond the Romans to the
    Greeks but its actual origin is uncertain. It is
    first mentioned in Homer's Iliad in which he
    describes Achilles making and playing a lyre with
    a tortoise shell soundbox.

17
LYRE
  • The lyre had seven strings and appears in several
    varieties, each with a distinct Greek name. Some
    had no soundbox and Roman lyres sometimes had
    wooden soundboxes. No sharp distinction exists
    between a large lyre with a wooden soundbox and a
    kithara.

18
LYRE
  • The lyre is most often depicted in classical
    settings and in the theatre. In Greek art it also
    commonly occurs in celebrations and orgies. The
    Spartans were often skilled players of the lyre
    and other instruments, when they were not engaged
    in battle.

19
LYRE
  • The lyre, not a fiddle, was the actual instrument
    Nero played as he watched the common people's
    housing districts go up in flames. Nero was fond
    of singing in the baths and it was said that he
    "regularly murdered the songs of Menicrates."
    Menicrates was one of the star musical performers
    of the times.

20
LYRE
  • The lyre was often played to accompany popular
    songs and poetry and from this instrument comes
    the word lyric.

21
FLUTES
  • The most ancient tonal musical instrument of all,
    flutes appear throughout Etruscan, Greek, and
    Roman, art. They most commonly appear in the form
    of the twin reeds.

22
FLUTES
  • and Greeks since antiquity. In the image above is
    an Etruscan youth playing the twin reeds, the
    most The flute was one of the most popular Roman
    instruments, but it had been played by the
    Etruscans common type of flute.

23
FLUTES
  • The flute most often appears in ancient art in
    the form known as twin reeds, but recorder style
    flutes, as shown in the Greek vase below, are not
    uncommon.

24
FLUTES
  • he art of the twin reeds is certainly lost as
    there are no twin reed players today. The two
    flutes would seem not to be joined, but simply
    held together while playing. How these musicians
    could have held the flutes and simultaneously
    played them with their fingers is difficult to
    imagine.

25
FLUTES
  • In the image above left from Pompeii, the fellow
    playing the twin reeds has his left foot on a box
    or device that may be a percussive metronome of
    some sort.

26
FLUTES
  • The flute is most certainly the most ancient
    tonal instrument of all. If we included whistles
    as single-note flutes then they clearly date back
    to over 20,000 BC. The bone flute shown below was
    found in Athens but is missing the mouthpiece,
    which most likely contained a reed.

27
TYMPANI
  • The tympani, or tambourine, appears everywhere
    that celebrations, theatre, or dancing is
    illustrated

28
TYMPANI
  • Tympani, or tambourines, were common anywhere
    there was celebration. They were a favorite for
    dancing in the streets and no Bacchante would be
    seen without one.

29
TYMPANI
  • Dancing girls at dinner parties and street bands
    often played the tambourine for rhythm in place
    of the much-heavier drums.

30
TYMPANI
  • The image of a tympanum laying on the floor was a
    metaphor for the previous night's celebration. In
    association with theater masks it symbolized the
    arts. In some images it symbolizes the joy of
    religious ritual.

31
TRUMPETS
  • Trumpets and French horns appear both in the
    military, parade, and in band-style settings.

32
TRUMPETS
  • The Romans seem to have had a variety of
    trumpets, including bronze military trumpets and
    Frech Horns, that were used in various settings
    including triumphs, celebrations, theatre
    performance, and games at the Coliseum and the
    Circus Maximus. Trumpeteers were known as
    tubicines from tuba, meaning trumpet and canere,
    meaning to play. The trumpeteer was also called a
    buccinator. Horn-blowers were known as
    cornicines. The trumpeteer was known as The
    cornetists were called liticines. When classes
    were called to gather for an assembly, the
    cornetists blowing the horn or cornet was known
    as a classicus.

33
PANPIPES
  • Named after Pan, the panpipes were a familiar and
    ancient sound to the Romans, who felt that the
    talent of musicians was inspired by Pan and the
    muses.

34
PANPIPES
  • The panpipes were a uniquely Roman instrument,
    and probably date back to the Etruscans. Pan, the
    "country" god of panpipe playing, (and other
    mischief) is tied to the rustic agricultural
    origins of the Latin people.

35
PANPIPES
  • Notice the young man with the panpipes is styled
    as Pan, the mythical god who inspires musical
    creativity. He is not yet playing but is watching
    the lyre player to carefully catch his cue as he
    slowly raises the pipes to his lips.
  • She has the look of a master musician, serious
    and focused. As she plucks a gentle melody that
    flows down to the lower strings she steps
    lightly, signaling the cue for the panpipes at
    which she will then repeat her melody as the
    pipes join in harmony.
  • On the left the flute player listens and waits
    with twin reeds, an instrument that will add high
    notes in counterpoint to the panpipes. On the
    next cue she will join in with the third part of
    the harmony, and then they will repeat and fade.

36
HARP
  • The harp, like the lyre and the lute, dates back
    beyond Greece to the ancient Egyptians

37
HARP
  • The harp is among the most ancient of musical
    instruments and shows up prominently in Egyptian
    and Greek paintings. It was often played in
    combination with lyres, lutes, flutes or pipes,
    percussive instruments, and accompanied vocals
    and dancing. It was also common in religious
    ceremonies at the various temples, and was used
    at the games during holidays.

38
DRUMS
  • Drums and percussion instruments like castanets
    were common in dancing styles of music.

39
DRUMS
  • Drums and percussion instruments like tympani and
    castanets, the Egyptian sistrum, and brazen pans,
    served various musical and other purposes in
    ancient Rome, including backgrounds for rhythmic
    dance, celebratory rites like those of the
    Bacchantes, military uses, hunting (to drive out
    prey), and even for the control of bees in
    apiaries. Some Roman music was distinguished for
    its having a steady beat, no doubt through the
    use of drums and the percussive effects of
    clapping and stamping. Egyptian musicians often
    kept time by snapping the fingers.

40
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
www.personal.psu.edu/users/w/x/wxk116/muse/
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