Reconstruction of Homeric Performance

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
What I find most strange are the pauses at the end of a line where there is no syntactic break, but apparently that's what they did in Balkan oral traditions (West JHS 101:123).

I wonder if the monotony is not so much from the conventions used but because they never vary the tempo or the volume or the tone of voice very noticeably? It is rather slow, and perhaps Demodokos' song merits a more lively tempo.

And, of course, it's a different matter listening to an audio file compared with watching a singer perform it live.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
I can't comment because I refused to read further than the far-fetched assertion in the title:
"Hear what Homer's Odyssey sounded like when sung in the original Ancient Greek."
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I can't comment because I refused to read further than the far-fetched assertion in the title:
"Hear what Homer's Odyssey sounded like when sung in the original Ancient Greek."
Well, one could take that as meaning nothing more than that they were using the original text, not a translation; but it does seem to be implying more, yes.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
Well, one could take that as meaning nothing more than that they were using the original text, not a translation; but it does seem to be implying more, yes.
I've listened to a bit now. I don't think the reconstruction is that implausible from the sound of it. I don't think it's too slow, and I'm not too troubled by the monotony; if you're used to hearing Greek Orthodox liturgical chant, you might not even notice the monotony.

It goes without saying that none of this means that this is how it was actually done, and, to be fair to the article, the content is far more cautious in its assertions than the headline leads us to believe it will be.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
I can't comment because I refused to read further than the far-fetched assertion in the title:
"Hear what Homer's Odyssey sounded like when sung in the original Ancient Greek."
That is a secondary news headline, and not what Danek and Hagel claim ('Our theory is not to be understood as the exact reconstruction of a given melody').

Still, the reconstruction itself isn't bad, there's nothing wrong with the pronunciation and the method follows ancient evidence and logical typological work. There's a decent chance that this is pretty close to what Homeric poetry sounded like in its original context.

(Sorry, I posted this before Aurifex posted a reply)
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
I don't think it's too slow, and I'm not too troubled by the monotony; if you're used to hearing Greek Orthodox liturgical chant, you might not even notice the monotony.

I agree to some extent, I don't think the monotony or slowness is unpleasant; I'm just not sure that it's appropriate to this particular part of the song. It would seem fine at the laments over the body of Patroklos, say, but it seems strange to me that poems with such a variety of different scenes and events would be sung at exactly the same tempo and volume all the way through. But maybe this is just a modern presupposition innappropriate to Archaic Greece; it would be interesting to see what the typological evidence has to say.
 
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