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Music in life of ancient Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Music in life of ancient Romans
Music in life of ancient Romans

Music in ancient Rome was often associated with work. The singing was supposed to give it a rhythm and a good pace. For example, rowers worked listening to the so-called hortator, that is, they rowed to the rhythm of the music.

Moreover, in ancient Rome, a distinction was made between art and folk music. As in Greece, music accompanied poetry and dramatic forms such as mimes and atellanes. The climate was conducive to playing and singing in the open air. In Rome, the tragedy did not gain popularity. On the other hand, comedy, which was a cluster of dialogues and popular songs, was very popular. Folk music, on the other hand, was performed mainly on city streets. There was also music related to shows, theatre and games; entertainment music accompanying banquets; finally, music related to rituals (e.g. funeral ceremonies).

Military music was specially developed. For example, appropriate melodic instruments and phrases were used, signifying offensive, retreat or victory (the functional conditions were so strong that they were even used to mislead the enemy). Another type of music was associated with celebrations and military holidays.

More about music in ancient Rome

  • Landels J. G., Music in Ancient Greece & Rome, 1999
  • Winniczuk Lidia, Ludzie, zwyczaje i obyczaje starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, PWN, Warszawa

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