Curiosities of Music - online book

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74                    CURIOS1TIES OF MJSIC.
The dramatic chorus probably appeared firet a* Satyrs, the natural attendants of the jolly god Dionysius, in the plays of Thespis, and were then numerous and ill disciplined.
Aeschylus lessened the part of the chorus in his tragedies, and they no longer sang an unceas­ing duet with the Protagonist, for the addition of a second actor, made dialogues possible without their assistance.
The number of Choryeutes (chorus players) in Aeschylus's tragedies was twelve; Sophocles, and Euripides had usually fifteen.
In the tragedy of the " Eumenides " there was a special chorus of fifty members; these were apparelled as the hideous furies of that name, all in black, with angry countenances, snakes twining in their hair, and blood dripping from their eyes; and suddenly these frightful apparitions appeared on the stage: the effect was terrible, women shrieked, and fell in convulsions, and several children died of fright This event proves that the stage effects were rather realistic in those days.
The chorus was felt as an inconvenience by Euripides, who yet could not break the shackles of custom sufficiently to do away with it.
The arrangement of the chorus was changed when it was transplanted from lyric to dramatic use. The djthyrambic chorus stood around an altar singing hymns, and was wholly occupied with its music: the dramatic chorus stood in the shape of n square, the director taking good care






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