Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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Among the many institutions which contributed to that polished civilization which was the glory of ancient Greece, none were higher in aspirations, or more prolific in results, than the Tragedies and Comedies which were at certain intervals presented in the Theatre at Athens. The Athenians were by this agencj-, brought to a cultivated discrimina­tion in music and poetry, and as we shall see later, the choruses being chosen from the body of the people, and demanding an amount of musical ability in the members, caused the study of music to become almost a necessity to all.*
In its early days the Drama, (if it be worthy of the name,) must have been a mere masquerading on any raised platform. It had its origin in the festivities of Dionysius (Bacchus), for at the earliest Dionysian festivals, the populace smeared their faces in wine lees, and thus disguised, sang choruses in honor of this god of mirth.
In later times, linen masks were substituted, but only in the days of Thespis, did the art assume some regular shape.
* At seven years old the study was usually commenced

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III