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Article

Warren Anderson, Thomas J. Mathiesen and Robert Anderson

[Aristophanēs]

(bc450 bce; dc385 bce). Greek dramatist. The chief poet of Athenian Old Comedy, he wrote more than 40 plays, of which 11 have survived.

Warren Anderson, revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

Of the works of Aristophanes’ first period (427–421 bce), the revised Clouds includes many references to music; the most noteworthy are the mockery of Damon for his concern with technicalities of metre (647ff) and a description (961ff) of ‘the old-fashioned education’ (hē archaia paideia) provided by the kitharistēs (not merely a teacher of the kithara but more properly a schoolmaster). The Knights (also from the first period) similarly shows a special concern with music. A criticism of grotesque Mimesis in drama leads to a parody of the Pythagorean theory of the soul as a harmonia (521ff, 531ff). There are also passages on lyra tuning and modality (989ff), and on the nomos orthios...

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Gadara, 110–100 bce; d ?Herculaneum, 40–35 bce). Epicurean philosopher, poet and critic of music . Philodemus went to Italy in about 65 bce and remained there until his death. He was the author of a treatise On Music, extensive parts of which have survived in a series of fragments discovered in the Herculaneum papyri, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 ce. Excavations beginning in the mid-18th century brought the first of the papyri to light, and attempts at a reconstruction of the treatise have been published since the end of the 18th century. In 1884 Johann Kemke established a text including additional material that had been discovered; he proposed that Philodemus's treatise was comprised of four books, the first of which was a doxography of the music theory of the Academy, the Peripatetics and the Stoics (including Diogenes of Babylon); the second (essentially lost) and third provided a fuller explanation of the theory of the Academy and the Peripatetics; and the fourth presented Philodemus's polemic against Diogenes and other Stoics. Until the 1980s Kemke's text was the basis for most modern scholarship, despite objections to his arrangement that were periodically raised on various grounds. With the later work of Rispoli, Neubecker and Delattre, however, Kemke's interpretation (and much of his text) has been largely supplanted. Delattre has proposed on papyrological and contextual grounds that all the fragments belong to the fourth book of Philodemus's ...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

( b Sarsina, Umbria, c 254 bce; d c 184 bce). Roman comic playwright . 20 of his comedies and a portion of another have survived, all fabulae palliatae (i.e. plays with Greek settings and costumes). They are free adaptations of Greek originals by Menander and other leading authors of the Athenian New Comedy (c330–270 bce), although none of Plautus's prototypes survives.

The abbreviations DV and C in the manuscripts of Plautus indicate the division of scenes into the two main categories of diverbium, spoken dialogue, and canticum, lines accompanied by a tibia player (tibicen). On average, nearly two-thirds of the play is occupied by canticum. There were apparently two varieties of canticum: the first was recitative, written in iambic, trochaic or anapaestic septenarii or octonarii (seven- or eight-feet lines); the second was lyric song in more intricate and variable metres, chiefly cretics, bacchics and ionics. Although a ...

Article

Terence  

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Publius Terentius Afer]

(b north Africa, c190 bce; d ?159 bce). Roman comic playwright. Only six plays survive, all fabulae palliatae (i.e. with Greek settings; see Plautus, Titus Maccius). Like Plautus, he adapted specimens of Greek New Comedy, but with far less lyric diversity (only 25 lyric lines out of 6000) and a heavy preponderance of spoken dialogue. The musical element was nevertheless more important than appears from the text; a considerable portion of the plays is recitative cantica, lines recited or intoned to an accompaniment on the pipes. (See Beare for a dissenting view.)

The didascalia (prefatory information) to each of Terence's works names a slave or freedman, Flaccus, as composer of the music (modi) and mentions the kinds of double reed pipe used. These are ‘equal’ in length, ‘unequal’, ‘right’, ‘left’ or, for one play, ‘Sarranian’. Commentaries by the 4th-century grammarian Aelius Donatus also specify them for each play, and identify equal pipes as Lydian and unequal as Phrygian, but the connections he suggested between these terms and the ethos or mood of the piece seem arbitrary and should be treated with caution (Wille, 169ff)....