LYRA– лира–ΛΥΡΕ (2TEL)


(BEING CONTINUED FROM 21/09/14)

A photograph of the actual clay tablet on which the Hurrian Hymn was inscribed, can be seen here:

image

The melody is an interpretation by Richard Dumbrill, from the ambiguous Cuneiform text of the Hurrian language in which it was written. Although many of the meanings of the Hurrian language are now lost in the mists of time, it can be established that the fragmentary Hurrian Hymn which has been found on these precious clay tablets are dedicated to Nikkal; the wife of the moon god.
There are several such interpretations of this melody, but to me, the fabulous interpretation by Richard Dumbrill just somehow sounds the most “authentic”. Below is a link to the sheet music, as interpreted by Richard Dumbrill and arranged by Clint Goss, and also to Richard Dumbrill’s own website:

http://www.flutekey.com/pdf/HurrianTabLtd.pdf
http://hometown.aol.com/ricdum/mane.htm#Music

In my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn, I have attempted to illustrate an interesting diversity of ancient lyre playing techniques, ranging from the use of “block and strum” improvisation at the end, glissando’s, trills & tremolos, and alternating between harp-like tones in the left hand produced by finger-plucked strings, and guitar-like tones in the right hand, produced by use of the plectrum.
I have arranged the melody in the style of a “Theme and Variations” – I first quote the unadorned melody in the first section, followed by the different lyre techniques described above in the repeat, & also featuring improvisatory passages at the end of the performance.

My arrangement of the melody is much slower than the actual arrangement by Richard Dumbrill – I wanted the improvisations in the variations on the theme to stand out, and to better illustrate the use of lyre techniques by a more rubato approach to the melody…
2. Shadow of the Ziggurat (Original Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre Featuring The Rare Assyrian Hammered-Lyre Playing Technique, c.700BCE)
3. Ashir Shirim (Ancient Babylonian Jewish Wedding Song, Arranged For Replica 3000 Year Old Biblical “Nevel” Lyre)
4. Hymn To Horus (Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre, Based on a Traditional Egyptian Folk Melody)
5. Echoes of Ancient Egypt (Improvisation on an Ancient Egyptian Minor Pentatonic Scale – Arranged For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre)
This improvisation on the lyre, uses a genuine pentatonic ancient Egyptian scale…last heard, some 3000 years ago! Although tragically no actual written music from ancient Egypt has survived, we do know from many ancient illustrations, that the ancient Egyptians did use a form of musical notation, whereby specific gestures of the hand represented specific changes in pitch in a given musical scale – this is ancient form of musical notation is known as “Chironomy”. We also know some of the specific scales once used in ancient Egypt, thanks to the discovery of several ancient Egyptian flutes, still in playable condition! The ancient lost art of Chironomy, and details of this haunting, ancient Egyptian scale are discussed at length in this fascinating article:
http://www.rakkav.com/biblemusic/pages/chironomy.htm
The minor pentatonic scale I am using in this improvisation was deciphered from ancient chironomy gestures by the late Professor Hans Hickmann, of the Museum in Cairo.
This improvisation is therefore my attempt to evoke the sounds of the Lyres heard in the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, over 3000 years ago…

6. The Music of Moses (Improvisation on an Ancient Egyptian Minor Pentatonic Scale – Arranged For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre)
A spontaneous improvisation on an ancient Egyptian scale – in this piece, therefore, I wish to try and convey the ancient connection between ancient Egypt and the ancient Hebrews.
As described above, in the details about the track 5, “Echoes of Ancient Egypt” although no actual written music from ancient Egypt has survived, we do know from many ancient illustrations, that the ancient Egyptians did use a form of musical notation, whereby specific gestures of the hand represented specific changes in pitch in a given musical scale – this is ancient form of musical notation is known as “Chironomy”.
The minor pentatonic scale I am using in this improvisation was deciphered from ancient chironomy gestures by the late Professor Hans Hickmann, of the Museum in Cairo.
7. Ark of the Covenant (Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Biblical “Kinnor” Lyre, Based on a Traditional Jewish Klezmer Melody)
8. King David Danced (Original Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Biblical “Nevel” Lyre)
9. Lyres of the Levites (Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Biblical “Kinnor” Lyre, Based on a Traditional Jewish Klezmer Melody)
10. The Temple of Jerusalem (Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Biblical “Nevel” Lyre, Based on a Traditional Jewish Sacred Melody)
11. Apollo’s Lyre (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode)
12. The First Delphic Hymn To Apollo (Ancient Greek Melody c.138BCE – Arranged For Replica Kithara)
This substantial fragment of ancient Greek music was discovered inscribed on a slab of marble in May 1893, in the ruins of the Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi. The Hymn is now preserved in the Museum of Delphi: Delphi Inv. No. 517, 494, 499.

There are two Delphic Hymns that have been discovered, and they were dedicated to the god Apollo. The two Delphic Hymns have sadly not survived in their complete form. However, they do survive in substantial fragments…giving just a tantalizing taste of the glory of the tragically lost, magnificent musical culture of ancient Greece.
The two Delphic Hymns were traditionally dated c.138 BC (the year of the Pythian Games, dedicated to the god Apollo ) and 128 BC (The year of the Pythian Festival, dedicated to the god Apollo). However, more recent musicological research may indicate that both Hymns were actually written in 128 BCE, the year of the Pythian Festival:
” They were long regarded as being dated circa 138 BCE and 128 BCE, respectively, but recent scholarship has shown it likely they were both written for performance at the Athenian Pythaides in 128 BCE (Pöhlmann and West 2001, 71–72). If indeed it dates from ten years before the second, the First Delphic Hymn is the earliest unambiguous surviving example of notated music from anywhere in the western world whose composer is known by name.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphic_Hymns)
According to this more recent scholarship, the composer’s name of the First Delphic Hymn was “Athénaios Athenaíou” (Athenios son of Athenios)
The First Delphic Hymn is written in the unambiguous alphabetical musical notation system used in ancient Greece, whereby alphabetical notation describing the pitch of the melody, is written above the text of the song. The rhythm can easily be inferred from the syllables of the text.
This ancient Greek musical notation can be clearly seen in the image below, of the actual First Delphic Hymn, as it was found, inscribed in marble:

image

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Delphic_Hymns
I have based my arrangement for solo replica Kithara-style lyre, on the first half of the fragment, which is based around the ancient Greek Hypolydian Mode. The second half of the Hymn is highly chromatic, (the piece was written for vocal performance) and not really suitable for performance on solo enharmonically tuned lyre with limited number of strings.
In order to play chromatic accidentals on a lyre, it is necessary to stop the string with the left hand to shorten it’s length to achieve the required pitch – this technique can be heard towards the end of the melody, where one of the notes of the melody is required to be lowered a semitone.
The translation of the fragment of text which has survived of the First Delphic Hymn to Apollo is as follows:

“Hear me, you who posses deep-wooded Helicon,
fair-armed daughters of Zeus the magnificent!
Fly to beguile with your accents your brother,
golden-tressed Phoebus who, on the twin peak of this rock of Parnassus,
escorted by illustrious maidens of Delphi,
sets out for the limpid streams of Castalia, traversing,
on the Delphic promontory, the prophetic pinnacle.
Behold glorious Attica, nation of the great city which,
thanks to the prayers of the Tritonid warrior,
occupies a hillside sheltered from all harm.
On the holy alters Hephaestos consumes the thighs of young bullocks,
mingled with the flames, the Arabian vapor rises towards Olympos.
The shrill rustling lotus murmurs its swelling song, and the golden kithara,
the sweet-sounding kithara, answers the voice of men.
And all the host of poets, dwellers in Attica, sing your glory, God,
famed for playing the kithara, son of great Zeus,
beside this snow-crowned peak, oh you who reveal to all mortals
the eternal and infallible oracles.
They sing how you conquered the prophetic tripod
guarded by a fierce dragon when, with your darts
you pierced the gaudy, tortuously coiling monster,
so that, uttering many fearful hisses, the beast expired.
They sing too, . . . .”

13. Epitaph of Seikilos (Complete Ancient Greek Melody Composed by Seikilos, Son of Euterpe, 1st c. CE – Arranged For Replica Kithara)
Engraved on an ancient Burial Stele at Tralles, Asia Minor, this beautiful melody was discovered and published by Ramsay, 1883. Musical signs
deciphered by Wessley, 1891. The stone itself, long preserved in the collection of Young at Doudja, disappeared after the burning of Smyrna (September 1923). It is now in the Copenhagen Museum, Inv. No. 14897:

image

This song, written in the ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode, is so far, the oldest complete piece of music ever found – unlike the other precious shards of ancient Greek music which have survived, this piece is unique, as it survived in its entirety. The ancient Greek burial stele on which it was found, , bore the following epitaph:
“I am a portrait in stone. I was put here by Seikilos, where I remain forever, the symbol of timeless remembrance”.
The timeless words of the song are:
“Hoson zes, phainou
Meden holos su lupou;
Pros oligon esti to zen
To telos ho chronos apaitei”
Translation – “While you live, shine
Don’t suffer anything at all;
Life exists only a short while
And time demands its toll”

 

14. Lament of Simonides (Ancient Greek Musical Fragment – Arranged For Replica  Kithara)
This lovely melody, written in the ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode, can possibly be attributed to the ancient Greek poet & musician, Simonedes of Keo .Simonides of Ceos (ca. 556 BC-469 BC) was one of the 9 great Greek lyric poets. He was born at Loulis on Kea. During his youth he taught poetry and music, and composed paeans for the festivals of Apollo. He was included, along with Sappho and Pindar, in the canonical list of nine lyric poets by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. Further details can be found at:
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Bios/SimonidesOfCeos.html
Although initially the piece sounds as if it is in the Ancient Greek Mixolydian Mode (the equivalent B-B on the white notes of the piano – not to be confused with the Medieval “Mixolydian” Mode, which is G-G!), the tonality of the melody actually implies the Ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode (G-G). Maybe it is this ambiguity of tonality which creates the haunting, mystical feel of this beautiful ancient melody?
The lyrics:
Ἄνθρωπος ἐὼν μήποτε φάσηις
ὅ,τι γίνεται αὔριον,
μηδ᾿ ἄνδρα ἰδὼν ὄλβιον,
ὅσον χρόνον ἔσσεται·
ὠκεῖα γὰρ οὐδὲ τανυπτερύγου μυίας
οὕτως ἁ μετάστασις

In English:
“You are a human, therefore seek not to foretell
what tomorrow may bring,
nor how long ones happiness may last.
For not even the flutter of the fly’s wing
is as fast as change”
15. Ancient Greek Musical Fragment (Kolon Exasimon, Anonymi Bellermann 97 – Arranged For Replica Kithara)
This beautiful melody, written in the haunting ancient Greek Hypolydian Mode, was preserved in several Byzantine manuscripts – Conspectus Codicum:
V. Venetus Marcianus appl. cl. VI, saec. XIII-XIV
N. Neapolitanus graecus III. C4, saec. XV
F. Florentius Ricc. 41, saec. XVI
16. Hymn To Zeus (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Greek Dorian Mode)
17. Glory of the Parthenon (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Greek Phrygian Mode)
18. Procession of the Olympians (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Greek Lydian Mode)
19. Roman Banquet (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Hypophrygian Mode)
20. The Temple of Venus (Original Composition For Replica Kithara in the Ancient Hypolydian Mode)
21. Ancient Vibrations (Original Composition For Replica 3000 Year Old Lyre in the Mystical Middle Eastern Hijaz Mode)

THE END

MICHAEL LEVY

SOURCE  http://www.ancientlyre.com/

About sooteris kyritsis

Job title: (f)PHELLOW OF SOPHIA Profession: RESEARCHER Company: ANTHROOPISMOS Favorite quote: "ITS TIME FOR KOSMOPOLITANS(=HELLINES) TO FLY IN SPACE." Interested in: Activity Partners, Friends Fashion: Classic Humor: Friendly Places lived: EN THE HIGHLANDS OF KOSMOS THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF AMENTHE
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