2nd International Congress of Musicology

Athens Concert Hall, 4-6 November 2003

Paper Abstracts

Alexandra Goulaki-Voutyra

Rhythm in Texts and Depictions of the Antiquity

Rhythm in dance is depicted in visual form by repeating dance motifs that are accompanied by the music of percussion instruments or auloi. Auloi music seems to have accompanied, and set the pace for, a number of everyday activities, such as kneading dough or treading grapes. Auloi-players helped army troops to march together and shipsí oarsmen to pull together and keep time; and they sometimes emphasised the rhythm by moving their body or tapping their foot. Some scenes show an auloi-player waving the auloi like a baton, conducting stringed instruments or members of the chorus, or striking the auloi together in rhythmic jest. In the theatre they set the tempo for the chorus and taught the choristers dithyrambs. It is interesting to note that all these observations relating to the depiction of rhythm seem to illustrate references in ancient writings; or, vice versa, the ancient writers seem to be commenting on the images.

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