MUSIC AND THE BODY IN GREEK AND ROMAN ANTIQUITY

REVIEW – The last MOISA Annual Conference, hosted by Newcastle University from the 29th to 31st of July, brought together MA and PhD students, academic researchers at different stages of their career, and musicians. A variety of theoretical and practical approaches were applied to explore the concept of embodiment in the production and perception of music in Antiquity. The programme included: eight panels; a keynote address on Aristotle and the power of music in ancient Greek tragedy by Pierre Destrée; the Concert ‘From Ur to Uppland’, performed by Callum Armstrong, Barnaby Brown, Gina D’Oyley and Erika Lindgren Liljenstolpe. In ‘Music and the body in ancient medicine’, Francesco Pelosi showed the references to embryology, cookery and harmonia in the Hippocratic De Victu; Donatella Restani defined the concept of ‘musica humana’ in the passage from conception to birth, through analysis of Roman medical sources; Andrew Barker provided a new reading and interpretation of Galen’s lost treatise On the Voice; Sylvain Perrot archaeologically reconstructed the soundscape inside the sanctuaries of Asclepios. In ‘Music and the body in ancient philosophy’, Juan Pablo Mira adopted a cognitive perspective to the analysis of instrumental music as mood generator in Aristotle; Elisabeth Lyon concentrated on ethical differences beyond the perception of concords in Plato’s Timaeus. In ‘The aulos and the body’, Anna Dolazza illustrated the bodily aspects connected to the aulete in the production, perception and visualisation of sounds; Nadia Baltieri discussed the representation of Dionysiac frenzy in Euripidean tragedies, through musical and kinetic patterns. In the panel dedicated to free papers, Armand D’Angour explained the concept of ‘vocabelisation’ in the annotation of rhythmical and melodic motifs; Egert Pöhlmann talked about Ambrosian hymns in reference to the first specimen of Christian Church Music (POXY 1786). In ‘Music and the dancing body’, Naomi Weiss identified the metatheatrical references to dance in ancient Greek tragedy; Sarah Olsen particularly looked at Herodotus to distinguish choreia from orchesis; Zoa Alonso Fernández examined the vocabulary of dance in Roman public religion, with particular attention to the Salii; Karin Schlapbach argued that in Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe mimetic dance was probably activated by means of musical performance. As a result of the MOISA Annual assembly, the next Conference might be held in Athens and the suggested topic is Music and animals. See also the CFP for the next meeting of the MOISA Society (Rome, 6th November 2015) on “The study of musical performance in Antiquity: archaeology and written sources”.

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