Greek-Notation - tuned major 3rds(i.e C-E E-G Ab-C and an...

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ANCIENT GREEK NOTATION Greek theorists had little interest in notating music since it was considered useful only for performers who already transmitted their music orally. There were, however, several forms of Greek musical notation, with the notation for vocal music ( lexis ) differing from instrumental notation ( krousis ). The theorist Alypius (fl. c. 300-400 CE) gives the most complete explanation of notation in his Introduction to Music . PITCH NOTATION ( semeia ): Vocal music ( lexis ) used an alphabetic pitch notation using the Ionic Greek alphabet (and consequently dates after the 5 th century BCE), with each note having its own symbol. In the chart below, the symbols in line 1 give the diatonic scale (the pitches are approximate). The symbols in line 2 raise the line 1 pitches by one diesis (i.e. approximately a half-step), and those in line 3 by two dieses. 1 Pitch symbols were placed above the syllables of poetry. 1 In Greek theory a diesis (“separation”) is the intervallic difference between the sum of three perfectly
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Unformatted text preview: tuned major 3rds (i.e. C-E, E-G#, Ab-C) and an octave (C-C), and is consequently smaller than a half step. DURATIONAL SIGNS The rhythm of Greek vocal music generally followed meter and rhythm of the spoken poetry, but those rhythms could be notated and modified by various symbols. An unmarked duration is usually the smallest note value ( chronos protos ), while two durational signs indicated a doubling or tripling of the unmarked value (see table below). Durational signs were placed above the pitch symbol. Two pitches under one rhythmic sign usually indicates a melisma with each note getting half the total value of the sign, or the unequal “short-long” of an iamb. The meaning of the dots “. ” or stigmai used in Greek notation is still under debate. chronos protos You can see both the pitch notation and durational signs in the Song of Seikilos (below)....
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