A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography

By Egon Wellesz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE PAGAN BACKGROUND

I. ABSENCE OF MUSICAL DOCUMENTS

THE prominent part which music held in the daily life of the Eastern Empire can be seen from the reports of ceremonies and festivities by Byzantine historians. To these may be added the arguments of Christian writers and the decrees of councils against the pernicious effects on morality of public shows and spectacles. Yet anyone who looks for records of secular music in Byzantine manuscripts will be disappointed, since no trace of this kind of music has been discovered in any document up to the present day. This fact will not surprise the student of the history of music, as there is a similar absence of documents for secular music in the West before the twelfth century. This lack of documents for Byzantine secular music is regrettable, but we are faced with the same absence of written evidence in every other branch of Eastern secular music, and it is hardly to be expected that we should be in a more favourable position with regard to that of Byzantium alone.

Eastern secular music has been transmitted orally up to the present day, and the instrumentalists were used to accompanying the singers by heart. Byzantine musical notation, was exclusively used for fixing ecclesiastical hymns and some of the acclamations (ἄκτα) sung during ceremonies of the court in honour of the Emperor and the Empress, or of the Church in honour of a visiting ecclesiastical dignitary. The specific character of this musical notation with which we shall have to deal fully later on, would have made its use impossible for any other purpose before its final development as an interval notation at the beginning of the thirteenth century. But even at that stage its application to secular music would have been most unlikely. The clergy, the courtiers, and other members of the educated classes who collected books and ordered them to be written treated with contempt public shows, ballets, pantomimes, and other theatrical performances accompanied by music. They would never, therefore, have suggested that the system of musical signs used for the transmission of hymns or acclamations in honour of the

-78-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 474

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.