The singing of Homer and the modes of early Greek music

Journal of Hellenic Studies 101:113-129 (1981)
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Abstract

In their invocations of the Muses the early epic poets use indifferently verbs meaning ‘tell’, ‘speak of’ and the verb which we normally translate as ‘sing’ When they refer directly to their own performance they may use the non-committalμνήσομαι, or ἐρέω, ἐνισπεῖνbut more often it isάείδω, ἄρχομ ἀείδεινor something of the sort; and they will pray for goodἀοιδήor hope for reward from it. We cannot make a distinction between two styles of performance, one characterized asἀείδειν the other as ἐνέπεινthe Iliad beginsμῆνιν ἄειδε θεάbut later hasἔσπετε νῦν μοι Μοῦσαι;Hesiod moves straight fromχαίρετε τέκνα Διός, δότε δ᾿ ἱμερόεσσαν ἀοιδήνtoεἴπατε δ᾿ ὡς... ταῦτά μοι ἔσπετε Μοῦσαι... καὶ εἴπατε; the author of the Hymn to Pan beginsἔννεπε Μοῦσαand endsἴλαμαι δέ σ᾿ ἀοιδῇ... καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ᾿ ἀοιδῆς.

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