Monday, 5 May 2008

Music of the gods

Want people to go home at the end of your party? Try putting one of these numbers onto the music centre:

I attended a public lecture on ancient Greek music in Oxford a few years ago at which they played a fragmet of the music for a tragedy (one of Euripides', I think). When the music started, there was no actual noise from the audience, but I felt a sort of collective gasp. The music was horrible - not because of incomprehensible dissonance, in the way of classical Japanese music, which is so alien to the Western ear as to seem hardly like music at all - but because of the all too comprehensible sense of overwhelming dismay it imposed. I have to say it worked: I can imagine no more effective accompaniment to a typical Greek tragedy. On the whole, though, I'd rather listen to the Czardas Princess.

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