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To sing the Illyad  (included in Conversations with Itziar)

Epic poetry and classic Greek theater, all in verse, was sung  (at least until Euripides), not spoken. So these beautiful texts cannot be communicated properly until a similar recitation is used. We do not accept prosaic renditions of them. Even it is done (and it is always done, Ay!) some kind of tragic style must be found, we believe.

In search of all this, we have tried music in both Homeric epic and Esquilean tragedy.

In "The Seven against Tebas" we have tried two ways doing it in the chorus: the first is a sing-song akin to a prayer, which given the religious character of the first theater, does not seem absurd. And indeed the effect is good, even necessary, if the chorus is multiple, because only a regularly stressed text, as prayer is, can be conjointly recited by a group. This, or music, as a song. The rhythm used in many chorus seem to be very musical fitting often in ternary bars as 'taca-tan-tan-taca-tan-tan-taca-tan-tan-tan-taaann" like any contemporary song.

The second way of singing chorus that we used was a sort of melopy with a high note in most of the text and finishing by going down (g-g-g-g–g-f-e-d-c), something as Gregorian chant or old public street announcement (like Spanish 'pregonero').

Further attempts have been the following: a modal scale, like the Phrygian (the Greek diatonic Dorian), with intervals like s-t-t-t-s-t-t, have been chosen (s, semitone, t, tone). After simple melodies, often repetitive is adapted to the text, making a note by syllable and finishing going down to the tonic ('e', if white piano keys are used) in long final syllables. This also works.

Refining these simple techniques involves more elaborate melodies expressing the passions and emotions derived from the text, changing rhythms with play parts, parting chorus parts with dry strokes on drums or bellows, introductory and final instrumental melodies on the chosen mode. As instruments, Turkish flute (Ney) and Bulgar lyra (Gadulka) have been successfully used.

And those were our modest intents to give back Music to Tragedy and Epics.


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