Euterpe 2018 preparation

This page contains experiments in sound and notation. We are sharing these experiments so that 1) participants can prepare for the 1st Euterpe doublepipe school, and 2) scholars can send us feedback before rehearsals begin on 3 May. After the scores have been road-tested at the school, they will be revised and published on the website of the European Music Archaeology Project, together with videos and audio recordings made during Euterpe 2018.

Please use this SoundCloud playlist to download the MP3s and the links below to print the scores. They are all snapshots of work in progress. Your critical feedback is most welcome. How can we make these performing materials better?

Note to participants: Please bring a music stand! Callum and I will be helping you write your parts into the blank staves, using these pieces as vehicles for practising. The notations we generate will be collected as starting points for future schools. No-one should do all 4 pieces. Excuse yourself from at least one and use its rehearsal slots to practise, fix reeds (with Callum or Marco), or relax. In the pieces you choose to rehearse, you have the option of singing or playing or both.

DAGM = Documents of Ancient Greek Music: The Extant Melodies and Fragments edited and transcribed with commentary by Egert Pohlmann and Martin L. West (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Pindar’s 12th Pythian Ode (on the invention of the aulos)

Score for chorus and Poseidonia aulos corresponding to the January 2018 recording.
Score coming soon with translation and blank staff, revised for Euterpe 2018 by repeating the melody more closely, following the word accents less closely, so that all 4 strophes use the same music. Fewer pages and less to learn!
Enharmonic genus. ‘Dorian’ and ‘Mixolydian’ Aristides scales. Rhythm and pitch contour informed by the ancient Greek words

Two Anonymous “Bellermann” Exercises (DAGM 37 & 35)

Score with vocables
Diatonic genus. Ancient notation and vocables edited by Stefan Hagel

Euripides Orestes Chorus (DAGM 3)

Score for chorus and Pydna aulos  |  Score with blank staff
Enharmonic genus. ‘Phrygian’ Aristides scale. Melody 27% ancient notation, 73% reconstruction by Armand D’Angour

Athenaios Paean (DAGM 20)

Score for chorus at a pitch for Louvre aulos (2 pages)  |  Score with blank staff (4 pages)
Section 1: spondeion scale. Section 2: chromatic genus, modulating style. Section 3: diatonic genus. Melody 82% ancient notation, 18% reconstruction by Stefan Hagel


We are not attempting to produce definitive texts or performances. Please treat the draft scores above as members of evolving families of ‘indefinite’ performing materials; part of a rich ecology; starting points for new music and for doublepipe education. The ensemble arrangements we will create in Tarquinia next weekend (using the blank staves) will be tailored to suit everyone’s individual playing abilities, bringing together a glorious mixture of doublepipes.

With 20 participants, mostly beginners, we are not in the business of scholarly reconstruction: our music-making will accommodate everyone’s individual level and all the different doublepipes that we have. This means mixing up historical periods. We will be forming small ensembles dictated by the temperamental tuning of the pipes we want to play. The principle is to compose simple exercises that sound good and stretch us gently in the direction of becoming better players. It just happens that some of these exercises will be integrated into a final performance: this serves as a stimulus to practise and provides a holistic learning experience. Every aspect of being a doublepiper is touched upon.

Where ancient evidence is contradicted, we will make this clear and give reasons. For example, I have transposed the Athenaios paean down a minor 3rd to suit the Louvre aulos. I don’t believe it was performed at this pitch in 128/7 BCE, or that the Louvre aulos is the right type of aulos. We are using this pitch at Euterpe 2018 because: 1) we don’t have instruments at the original pitch, 2) it is more friendly to a community choir, enabling all participants to sing; and 3) actively performing this piece without feeling embattled makes it easier to appreciate ancient Greek musical conceptions and idioms – we are more sympathetically disposed towards an alien culture when we are less stressed. The Athenaios is the best introduction to ancient Greek music that we have, lets enjoy it!

All the scores use written pitch, rather than transposing pitch, for the following reasons:

  1. Ease collaborating with other musicians (particularly singers) – I see no sense in preparing scores for voice and aulos in which the vocal part is in a different key to the aulos part. This would prevent singers from reading the harmony, which is helpful both for pitching and for tuning.
  2. Ease collaborating with composers and scholars who ask you what notes you can play. As French horn players know, composers tend to get transposing instruments wrong even when the textbooks are clear and numerous (neither of which is the case for doublepipes). Transposing introduces hazards which would mean significant time being wasted as a result of mistakes and misunderstandings.
  3. Labour-saving producing scores – when engraving software transposes a part, you loose the manual formatting. This can represent hours of work, getting the spacing to look good. Producing a score in concert pitch plus a part transposed for the aulos player with cues (also transposed) would represent significantly more work, even if the transpose button didn’t throw things awry.
  4. If all doublepipes behaved like the Louvre, but in different keys, then there would be a case for treating the aulos as a transposing instrument. But they don’t. Our instruments cover a 600-year period and are significantly different in their tonal behaviour. Sometimes the pipes are a tone apart, sometimes a 4th. This means there is no real advantage to the modern aulete, as there is to the clarinettist or would have been to the ancient aulete, who played instruments from a much shorter period.

Rather than making life difficult for our colleagues – singers, lyre players and composers – I think it is wiser for the doublepipe community to learn to read at pitch. The only slight exception I make to this is in scores for Pydna/Poseidonia aulos: these instruments behave almost identically and sound only a semitone apart, so I split the difference and write at a pitch in between. Depending on reeds, the Poseidonia sounds about a quarter tone higher, the Pydna a quarter tone lower.

Over the next couple of days, more MP3s will be added to the playlist and the missing scores added above. The Athenaios is the piece to spend most time on. Note that we are doing Stefan’s version, not Armand’s – there are major differences in the melody and in the pronunciation. Stefan’s view is that the pronunciation would have been old-fashioned, which makes life easier for us as we can use the same pronunciation rules in all three songs: Pindar, Euripides and Athenaios.

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