Curiosities of Music - online book

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adjudged to be the best, he received a wreath aa a reward.
Expensive as this honor was, yet it was sought after by all the richer class of Athens, as it was an ostentatious manner of showing their munifi­cence, for the tragic choruses vied with each other in the splendor of their attire, their costumes being superb mantles of gold, and purple. So costly was it that the saying became a well known jest, that the way to ruin a man, was to get him appointed choregus.
The costume of the actors was also rich, with­out much reference to the part they were playing. Hercules came on the stage in purple and gold instead of with a lion's skin.
The poet who had just completed a tragedy, and succeeded in obtaining a hearing for it, applied to the Archon for a chorus; that functionary, if he had confidence in the applicant, would assign him one of the choruses which had already been formed and on receiving the permission from the choregus, the composer would set to work, drilling them in their various songs, attitudes, and movements. The director did not use a stick for this purpose, as in modern days, but beat the time with a heavy pair of iron shoes which he put on for the pur­pose.* The chorus of comedy was a less expensive and smaller affair. The music which it sang was also less difficult and grand.
•There was, and possibly Is still, in some parts of Italy, a custom analogous to this, wben the director of the orchestra marked time by rapping his baton regularly on his music stand instead of simply wav­ing it

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