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The Dance of the MusesChoral Theory and Ancient Greek Poetics$
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A. P. David

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199292400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199292400.001.0001

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The Voice of the Dancer: A New Theory of the Greek Accent

The Voice of the Dancer: A New Theory of the Greek Accent

(p.52) 3 The Voice of the Dancer: A New Theory of the Greek Accent
The Dance of the Muses

A. P. David

Oxford University Press

A fresh interpretation of ‘όξύς’ and ‘βαρύς’ underpins a new theory of the ancient Greek accent, applying W. Sidney Allen’s observation that there must have been in Greek a down-glide in pitch, cognate with the Vedic svarita, in addition to the rise whose vowel mora is marked by the received written system of signs devised by Aristophanes of Byzantium. The diachronic analysis is confirmed by Allen’s separate discovery of a pattern of stress in Greek, whose rules predict the same places of accentual prominence as the new theory; by modern synchronic descriptions of the Greek tonal phenomena; and by the fact that the contextual dominance of the svarita proposed for Greek also helps formulate a law that corresponds to the received rules for Latin prosody. Various loci antiqui, including disputed passages from Plato’s Timaeus, are seen in some cases to be inconsistent with received interpretations, but always consistent with the new theory.

Keywords:   ancient Greek accent, W. Sidney Allen, svarita, mora, Aristophanes of Byzantium, diachronic, synchronic, Latin accent, Timaeus

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