ANALYSIS OF “MYTHOS Ξ “

 
ANALYZING THE PROCESS OF CREATION
OF
“MYTHOS Ξ”

I. STRUCTURE OF THE PIECE

The structure of the piece is based a lot on the study of Aristotle “About Poetics”, where he is mentioned about the elements, the way and the purpose of tragedy.  More specific, the things which I used inspired from this source are:

Creation of my own myth
«αὐτόν δὲ εὐρίσκειν (μύθους) δεῖ καὶ τοῖς παραδεδομένοις χρῆσθαι καλῶς» [1453b]

Use of mimicry with music, body movements and lyrics
«Ἐπεὶ δὲ μιμοῦνται οἱ μιμούμενοι πράττοντας» [1448a]

Improvisation, as the departure point of ancient greek theater
«γενομένη δ᾽οὖν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς αὐτοσχεδιαστικῆς -καὶ αὐτὴ (τραγῳδία) καὶ ἡ κωμῳδία, καὶ ἡ  μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν ἐξαρχόντων τὸν διθύραμβον, ἡ δὲ ἀπό τῶν τὰ φαλλικὰ ἅ ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἐν πολλαῖς τῶν πόλεων διαμένει νομιζόμενα» [1449a]

Emotional release (catharsis) as the final goal of the myth
«ἔστιν οὖν τραγῳδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας καὶ τελείας μέγεθος ἐχούσης, ἡδυσμένῳ λόγῳ χωρίς ἑκάστου τῶν εἰδῶν ἐν τοῖς μορίοις, δρώντων καὶ οὐ δι᾽ ἀπαγγελίας, δι᾽ἐλέου καὶ φόβου περαίνουσα τὴν τῶν τοιούτων παθημάτων κάθαρσιν» [1449b]

Use of parts of tragedy (prologue, episode, exit and “kommos”)
«Μέρη δὲ τραγῳδίας […] τάδε ἐστίν, πρόλογος ἐπεισόδιον ἔξοδος χορικόν, καὶ τούτου τὸ μὲν πάροδος τὸ δὲ στάσιμον, κοινὰ μ῀εν ἀπάντων ταῦτα, ἴδια δὲ τὰ ἀπό σκηνῆς καὶ κομμοὶ»  [1452b]

Categorizing of letters of alphabet
«στοιχεῖον μὲν οὖν ἐστιν φωνὴ ἀδιαίρετος […] ταύτης δὲ μέρη τό τε φωνῆεν καὶ το ἡμίφωνον [οἶον τὸ Σ καὶ τὸ Ρ] καὶ ἄφωνον [οἶον τὸ Γ καὶ τὸ Δ]» [1456b]

Change from happiness to misery during the myth because of a human error
«ἀνάγκη ἄρα τὸν καλῶς ἔχοντα μῦθον ἁπλοῦν εἶναι μᾶλλον ἤ διπλοῦν, ὥσπερ τινές φασι, καὶ μεταβάλλειν οὐκ εἰς εύτυχίαν ἐκ δυστυχίαν ἀλλά τοὐναντίον ἐξ εύτυχίας εἰς δυστυχίαν μὴ διὰ μοχθηρίαν ἀλλά δι᾽ ἁμαρτίαν μεγάλην» [1453a]

Elements of greek ancient theater someone can find in the numerous of rituals which still happen in Greece and connected a lot with the music.They are an early kind of improvisational theater, most of them started from the devotion to Dionysus and Orpheus.
«From already prehistoric societies man in his attempt to understand and interpret the world and the mysterious forces of nature, to express their fears, joys and desires to be protected from imaginary or real dangers,  used fiction and imitation. Thus, through this need for expression unconsciously created his first shows, spontaneously and homemade creations.»
[From the devotion to Dionysus to theatrical act, 2015]

Considering the improvisation as one of the most important elements in Greek traditional music, the ensemble split in three groups on the way to be worked without conductor. Between these three groups there is a kind of free improvisation but the deeper meaning of this is to be every group (or layer as is mentioned in the score) one scene of the same story, where all of them happen in a parallel direction.  Also in this way achieved stronger spontaneity of the players and most direct contact as between the players as the ensemble’s with the audience, which are physical elements in any traditional music.

More specific there are the following layers:
A: supernatural and natural
B: humanity
C: myth of Syrinx
So, the created myth is the B (being the smaller and placed between the two bigger layers) declares the containment in which humans might be found trying to understand the A (which mainly represents divinity) through the C (having on mind that Greek mythology was the human way of understanding and approaching the divine) and finally this process doesn’t work.

As in the existed rituals of Greek culture all the participants have a specific role, also in this case every performer his own role which are:
A: Harp: Goddess Dimitra, one of the 12 basic Gods in ancient greek religion
(connection with fertilization and Eleysinian Mysteries)
Piano: Movement of the universe
Percussion: The natural environment where human lives
B: Violin-Double bass: The size difference of two “common” instruments declares
the difference between people considering the external
characteristics, as well as the inner perspectives and ideas
C: The instruments match the characters participating in the myth of Syrinx:
Flute: Syrinx
Cor anglais: Panas
Bass clarinet: Jupiter

I would like to mention that in the early period of ancient Greece the music was related completely with the theater and the poetry and later they started to separated as independent sciences and arts.

II. ELEMENTS FROM GREEK TRADITIONAL MUSIC

The rhythmic and harmonic used elements of Greek traditional music are related with the studies of Aristoxenos  “Harmonic elements” and “Rhythmic elements” and of Plutarchus “About music”.   Concerning the rhythm, it’s clearly that the informations which both to Aristoxenos and to Plutarchus are mentioned, they are still be used in Greek traditional music and most of the times without any difference, like the rhythmical “genders”, the way of using and the relation generally with the field of harmony. About the harmonic elements, a part of those exist until this time but another part needs further research for two reasons: a) the translator of the ancient Greek text should have a good knowledge about the Greek folk music and b) during of the long time, some elements were removed or they have stopped to be in use.

• Addition of the technique of tapan (daouli in Greece) on bass drum:

1-page-001• Analysis of inner structure of a rhythm:

2-page-001

• Use of Greek rhythms in poly-rhythmic way: 3-page-001• Creation of modals inspired from existing Greek modals:6-page-001 • Use of Greek dances for inspiration for instance dactylus and choriambus in the examples below:

13-page-001• Use the interval of fifth major (as an important element in the Greek harmonization) with the harmonic connection: 9-page-001

• Use a part of micro-tonality in flute combined with techniques of kaval:4-page-001

III. ELEMENTS ABOUT STAGE PERFORMANCE

• There are different directions each performer of each layer. More specifically:

A: looks in the opposite direction of the audience, hiding in a way it’s face, as it
happens in the inability of the humans to see the real face of God.
B: is placed in a way that both performers’ faces can be seen by the audience, but  the  look between them declares the direct contact between humans, which almost  extinct nowadays.
C: as a human act,  is placed facing directly to the audience in order of priority of the             importance of the characters in the myth.   5-page-001• The position of the performers on stage creates an inverted (90 degrees) Ξ (=Χ), which is the  last letter of the Greek word SYRINX (=ΣΥΡΙΓΞ)

 
• Specific details about the stage performance:10-page-001• Movement related with the meaning of the music part:

11-page-001
ΙV. ELEMENTS FROM GREEK LANGUAGE

• Letters from the Greek alphabet:12-page-001• Use of Greek words for the titles of the movements like Éroos, Pheùksis, Spoo etc.

V.  XENAKIS AND THE GREEK TRADITIONAL MUSIC

The basic experiences of  Xenakis on Greece had taken place only for fifteen years (1932-1947), but they were enough to create a strong connection between him and the Greek traditional music and generally with the Greek culture. As he had mentioned, he had used in his works a lot of the sounds that came from this period, for instance in “Metastaseis” there are: «…the sounds and the noises of nature, the wind in the pines, the noise of the wind, the cicadas, the noise of the waves, the roaring in the quiet sea […] the sound of the people in the demonstrations with rhythmic slogans converted in a chaos of screams and voices full of anger and death». So, it seems that to get someone in contact with a kind of music, the way through the music isn’t the only one.
Xenakis was influenced from Greek and Rumanian traditional music and from Byzantine music, worshiper of music from Epirus, studier of ancient greek scientists and philosophers and specially of Platon, he understood a lot about the history of music through the studies of Aristoxenos.
Below there are some parts of Xenakis’ texts where he is mentioned about the traditional music and greek culture:

IANNIS XENAKIS:
TEXTS ABOUT MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE

THE CURRENT TENDENCIES IN FRANCE MUSIC (1955)

“…The music problem in France is radically different that the Greek in this: in France the folk tradition of the village, as we mean it in Greece with the term “folk art”, is finally dead in a long time. I Greece the folk music tradition is alive and possession of the majority of the people. Its perfection and wealth couldn’t be defeated and such from the formal, coming from abroad teaching of the conservatories, despite the efforts of good local composers that borrowed melodic or rhythmic elements of the local language. Besides, hardly any folkloric studies have been made from those who could recast them as to integrate with a new, alive Greek music. In other words, there is still not a “Greek music school…”

PROBLEMS OF THE GREEK MUSIC COMPOSITION (1955)

“…As greeks, besides the problems of European music, have the special national issue of folk music. What is the meaning of folk music? As far we know of a legacy interweaved with devastation, destruction, renaissance and the unbounded efforts of a nation constantly fighting to come back to the light. From the musical view, does it stand next to melodic achievements, such as Mozart’s, Bach’s, Wagner’s? In this point a new question is added in the research. Which is the different between the collective anonymous and the conscious  personal creation?…”

“…In every place that didn’t follow the western music evolution, this problem appears. There is a music tradition coming from the inside of the people. But this is kind of obsolete, because the new life conditions let it dull.
…In other time Greeks forgot to sing to Apollon ahoudoned the lyra to catch the psalm of Ioudaia that came with Christianity. Christians fought with the song  to uproot the old religion and spread the new one. However they didn’t forget the ancient singing at all, because this still lived next to the plain psalm. Then they connected and through centuries gave two art forms: the church Byzantine music and folk music that is still sung from Greeks and Balkans. Today in small nations there is the danger of something worst: to acculturate fully when they don’t have their own wealthy culture or neglect basic areas of their civilization in periods of crisis.
….For us, byzantine and folk tradition in music, as in the other areas of culture, is the only real national legacy and with the chapter we can somebody enter, without losing our particular substance, the big cooperation of the current civilization…”

(EUROPEAN AND FOLK MUSIC COMPOSITION)

“…All those methods matter not for the educated composers to make the same music with the same musical instruments even if this would be really interesting at least in an experimental period, but to reassign the issues of music in Greece and not to fall in same composers’ mistakes (Kalomoiris’ or Petridis’) who took Greek melodies and used such a harmonic polyphonic and instrumental German frame of the 18th century that every Greek character was destroyed.
The new composer must forget the counterpoint he learned and he immersed in the problematic of the technic investigating the folk masterpieces. The critical conscience will make him search for expressive and structural implements in folk and church music on the one side and the innovative discoveries of European music on the other side. The one ear will listen to Greece’s voice and the other one to Europe’s voice.
So it will be able to make the two parallel fields his own. He will create his own idiosyncratic music language, which will start form the Greek area and will meet the European scientific musical thought. Only this way will he release the knot of multiple musical affects, actively, consciously…”

THE WAY OF RESEARCH AND THE QUESTION (1965)

“…We have to suggest the architecture a new space for us to touch the sound as we want. An architecture that is arched, rambling, convertible and in the space, for the free move and the spacial adjustment of sound and emotion, radically opposite to any classical, tastless or symmetric solution…”
“…From now on, the musician should be the costructor of overall philosophical and architectural issues, compounds of structures and sound material…”

ANCIENT TIMES AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC (1966)

“…The ancient theater or any other complex performance made from a variety of arts touches the human in many levels that don’t connect with each other and have roots in parallel traditions. Traditions of worship, arts, folkway etc. Only in the levels of fundamental structures it becomes real.
As a result, music should adjust in this variety of the places of mind. It can’t be “just itself” anymore as in clean music exercise. It has to integrate with the different elements that, in majority, are only compounded pro time and within time…”
“…Did antiquity left any alive traditions? Do we need to draw from those sources? Which are its typical characteristics? Some of the ancient traditions seem to still live in some Greek folk musics and in others of Balkan, Asia Minor and Cyprus, as in the Byzantine song as well. So here are some music climates closer to the ancients. But do we want to the archeological renovation? I believe it would be pointless, at least nowadays. And even if ancient drama survives, it will owe it to the engaging attributes of its myths and its poetic language…”

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