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Article

Eckhard Neubauer

(b Baghdad, July 779; d Samarra’, July 839). Arab musician. He was a son of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdī and a Persian slave at court called Shikla. He became famous for his fine and powerful voice with its range of four octaves, and first took part in court concerts during the reigns of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809) and al-Amīn (809–13). Proclaimed caliph in 817 in opposition to al-Ma’mūn (813–33), he had to abdicate after barely two years and went into hiding. In 825 he was pardoned and became a court musician once more under al-Ma’mūn and his successor al-Mu‘taṣim (833–42). He was a follower of the school of Ibn Jāmi‘ and represented a ‘soft’ style, probably influenced by Persian music, which also allowed freedom in rendering older works. His rival Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī accused him of stylistic uncertainty; fragments of their polemic writings are quoted in the Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr...

Article

Alcaeus  

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Alkaios]

(b Lesbos, c620 bc; d after 580 bce). Greek lyric poet. The earlier tradition of sung poetry on Lesbos had been choral, religious, impersonal; now choral lyric faced the challenge of monody. In contrast to the impersonality of the earlier poets, Alcaeus wrote as an individual, describing in an intensely personal manner his chequered political fortunes. Many of his poems, however, were amatory or convivial, consisting of drinking-songs and after-dinner verses (skolia); the range of subjects even included monodic hymns. His favourite metre was the compact four-line stanza which bears his name, although he also used the sapphic stanza. Like his compatriot and friend Sappho, Alcaeus wrote in the distinctive Aeolic dialect of Lesbos.

References to musical instruments show considerable diversity. He seems to have composed an address to the trumpet (salpinx), poeticized as a sounding conch (Edmonds, frag.85). He once mentioned the ...

Article

Arion  

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Methymna [now Molyvos], Lesbos; fl 625–600 bce). Greek singer to the kithara and choral lyric poet. He was associated with the beginnings of the dithyramb. None of his works has survived. According to Herodotus he spent most of his life at the court of Periander, tyrant of Corinth (c625–585 bce); this account (i, 23–4) consists almost entirely of a legend that a music-loving dolphin saved Arion from drowning, but nevertheless describes him as ‘to our knowledge the first man who composed a dithyramb and gave it a name and produced it in Corinth’. The Suda attributes to Arion the invention of the tragic mode or style (tragikos tropos; cf Aristides Quintilianus 1.12 [Winnington-Ingram 30.2–3]) and the introduction of ‘satyrs speaking verses’, but without citing its authorities. Proclus (412–85 ce), in chapter xii of his Useful Knowledge, claims that Pindar had said ‘the dithyramb was discovered in Corinth’, and that Aristotle had spoken of Arion ‘as having begun the song’ (...

Article

Alexander Lingas

[Bereketēs, Petros; Byzantios, ho Melōdos, Glykys, Tzelepēs, Kouspazoglou]

(b Constantinople, ?1665; d ?1725). Romaic (Greek) composer and cantor. Though undoubtedly influenced by the works of Panagiotes, Germanos and Balasios, he appears never to have been directly associated with the patriarchal court that nurtured his older colleagues. His own substantial contributions to their continuing renewal of Byzantine chanting were made instead from the Constantinopolitan parish church of St Constantine (in the district of Hypsomatheia), where Bereketes held successively the offices of reader, domestikos, and prōtopsaltēs.

Among the traditional repertories, Bereketes virtually ignored the stichērarion and heirmologion recently ‘beautified’ by Panagiotes, Germanos, and Balasios in order to focus his compositional skills on the more structurally malleable chants of the Papadikē. He also brought the newer paraliturgical genre of the kalophonic heirmos to its highest point with the composition of 45 heirmoi for use in monastic refectories or during the distribution of antidoron (blessed bread) at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Cultivating what Chatzigiakoumis and Stathis have described as a comparatively popular style of liturgical music, he occasionally composed works incorporating elements of the Arabo-Persian tradition of Ottoman secular music. Among his chants for Orthros are settings of the first and second ...

Article

James Grier

(b c965; d Limoges, April 26, 1025). French monk and cantor. He served at the abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges. Roger, who was the paternal uncle of Adémar de Chabannes, is known to have become cantor at the abbey after 1010 (see J. Grier, ‘Roger de Chabannes (d....

Article

Alexander Lingas

[Germanos Neōn Patrōn]

(b Tyrnavo, Thessaly, ?1625; d ?Wallachia, 1685). Romaic (Greek) composer, cantor, and hymnographer. He studied Byzantine chant in Constantinople under the patriarchal prōtopsaltēs Panagiotes. Some time before 1665 he was elevated to the episcopacy, possibly at the instigation of Patriarch Dionysios III (a fellow native of Thessaly), becoming Metropolitan of New Patras (now Ypati). He appears to have resigned from the see before 1683 and subsequently travelled to Wallachia.

Musically active from at least the early 1660s, Germanos is known to have produced five autographs: two copies of his edition of the Stichērarion, a Mathēmatarion in two volumes, and an anthology of the Papadikē. An abundance of grammatical and spelling errors in these manuscripts suggest that he had received little more than a rudimentary general education, but he was nevertheless highly respected as a musician, teaching the composers Balasios and Kosmas Makedonos as well as the Wallachian prōtopsaltēs...

Article

Edward V. Williams

revised by Christian Troelsgård

(fl c1300–50). Singer, composer and reviser of Byzantine chant. Traditionally known as the maïstōr (‘master’), the ‘second source of Greek music’ (the first being John Damascene, 8th century) and angelophōnos (‘angel-voice’), he was one of the most eminent Byzantine musicians during the Palaeologan dynasty (1261–1453) and was later made a saint of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Koukouzeles probably lived during the reigns of the Emperor Andronikos II Palaeologos (1282–1328) and his successor. Evidence in Byzantine music manuscripts suggests that his musical career was well established by about 1300, and by the mid-14th century he was considered the most important Byzantine composer.

Much of what is known about Koukouzeles’ life is contained in a short saint’s biography, or vita, the earliest extant copies of which date from the 16th century. According to this text he was born in Dyrrachium, now Durrës in Albania, but moved to Constantinople while still a child to attend the imperial school as a protégé of the Byzantine emperor. His mother appears to have been Slavonic, according to instances of her speech recorded (albeit in Greek letters) in the ...

Article

Alexander Lingas

[Panagiotēs Chrysaphēs ho Neos]

(b? 1620–25; d after 1682). Romaic (Greek) composer, cantor, and hymnographer. As prōtopsaltēs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople from about 1655 to 1682, he helped bring to fruition the revival of Byzantine chanting initiated by his predecessor, Theophanes Karykes. He was a student of the patriarchal prōtopsaltēs Georgios Raidestinos, at whose suggestion he claims to have embarked on the recomposition of the late medieval stichērarion popularly attributed to Manuel Chrysaphes. This task, described by Panagiotes as ‘beautification’ (kallōpismos), was accomplished through the incorporation of novel melodic formulae (theseis) hitherto transmitted orally in the patriarchal chapel. He also revised in similar manner the entire anastasimatarion and excerpts from the heirmologion. Among his other chants for the Divine Office are a modally ordered series of eight kekragaria for Hesperinos, responsories, acclamations, troparia, idiomela, and megalynaria for Orthros, and a modally ordered series of eight pasapnoaria...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Miletus, c450 bce; dc360 bce). Greek composer and singer to the kithara. He represented the more extreme manifestations of the ‘new music’ that dominated the final decades of the 5th century bce and the succeeding period in Greece. The Suda credits him with 19 musical nomoi, 36 preludes, 18 dithyrambs, 21 hymns, and other works. Some Greek musicographers considered his works to be rather crude and daring violations of the tradition of the Nomos, but his Persians (more than 200 lines of which survive in a nearly contemporary papyrus fragment, PBerol 9875; Campbell, frag.791) nevertheless won the competition at the Athenian games, probably some time between 420 and 416 bce. Moreover, according to Satyrus's Life of Euripides, the prelude to this nomos was written by Euripides himself, who championed Timotheus against his opponents. Timotheus's Persians affords a clear view of the literary style and character of the later ...

Article

Ziryāb  

Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Nāfi‘ ]

(b Iraq; d Córdoba, Spain, Aug 852). Arab musician . A mawlā (‘freedman’) of Caliph al-Mahdī (775–85) at Baghdad, he was a pupil of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī and a rival of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī at the court of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). He left Baghdad for Syria, served the Aghlabid ruler Ziyādat Allāh (817–38) in Qairawan (Tunisia), and later received a generous welcome from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–52) in Córdoba. His influence there as a court musician and companion (nadīm) must have been exceptional: customs in clothing and eating that he had brought from Baghdad became fashionable, and the tradition of his school of music was maintained by his descendants at least two generations after his death. Like his contemporary al-Kindī he seems to have known the musical theory of late antiquity and to have reconciled it with the teachings of his masters in Baghdad. Details of his vocal training techniques are described by Ibn Ḥayyān (...