Ancient Greece was permeated by music, and the literature teems with musical allusions. Here at last is a clear, comprehensive, and authoritative account that presupposes no special knowledge of music. Topics covered include the place of music in Greek life, instruments, rhythm, tempo, modes and scales, melodic construction, form, ancient theory and notation, and historical development. Thirty surviving examples of Greek music are presented in modern transcription with analysis, and the book is fully illustrated. Besides being considered on its own terms, Greek music is here further illuminated by being considered in ethnological perspective, and a brief Epilogue sets it in its place in a border zone between Afro-Asiatic and European culture. The book will be of value both to classicists and historians of music.
`In this book you will find delightful transcriptions of weddings, festivals, dances at drunken orgies, and the many details of everyday life that seem at once familiar and somehow alien...it is in these that we sense a link between the Greeks and Mozart and may yet discover a continuous history for music after all.' Anthony Pryer, BC Music Magazine
'West plunges in headfirst, as is only to be expected of a Fellow of All Souls, and gives it his scholarly all ... beautifully ... produced and written.'
Paul Janes, Literary Review
'a remarkable book and not its least remarkable feature is the way in which Martin West takes the reader, gently but systematically, from the easy ... to the increasingly more difficult ... My respect for the author knows no bounds.'
Greece and Rome, October 1993
`...an enlightening study which will be of interest both to students of medical history and of social anthropology in its ancient Greek context.'
The Greek Gazette
`It;s no exaggeration to say that Martin West's Ancient Greek Music is a book we have been desiring for centuries: a clear, complete, unprejudiced, thorough, rigorous and deep account of the evidence for the basic realities of ancient music...Anything sane is welcome, and a really good big book like West's is a prodigy...He has collected all the most important ancient passages, and made it easy to see all the evidence in one place. He discusses music in all
its aspects, technical, social, esthetic, organological, theoretical, and historical, and liberally illustrates his arguments.'