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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 Lyric Orchestra

The Lyric Orchestra

(p.215) 8 The Lyric Orchestra
The Dance of the Muses

A. P. David

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the new theory of the accent in a choral analysis of lyric verse. The first section, ‘The Lord of the Dance’, calls attention to a new relationship between the poet and his orchestra in lyric as against epic, and the implications of this new relationship for lyric usage and its interpretation. Gone is the evocative music of the noun-and-epithet phrases in favour of adjectival predication. A section on ‘Prosodic Agreement’ showcases accentual rhyme in the strophic systems of Pindar’s Olympian 1 and three heuristic principles for the choreographic analysis of lyric verse, each discussed in theory and practice: (i) ‘one syllable one step’; (ii) the dactyl as the fundamental element of all lyric rhythm in relation to the cadential cretic; and (iii) the accentual determination of ictus (distinguished from the ictual determination of quantity and accent, more characteristic of epic). A discussion of ‘period’ and ‘strophe’, highlighting the remarkable isochrony of both ancient and modern Greek dance, leads to a discussion and demonstration of the kind of poetic epiphany that choral verse can achieve.

Keywords:   choral analysis, noun-and-epithet phrase, predication, Pindar, cadence, determination of ictus, ictual determination, period, strophe, isochrony

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