Curiosities of Music - online book

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CHAPTER IX.
MUSIC OF THE ROMAN THEATRE.
In Rome as in ancient Greece there was a school of music, which was devoted to the stage; but it was not held in such high esteem, nor was it the work of the poet to supply it.
In the French operas bouffes of our day we find the libretto and music to be the work of different persons, and in this respect the Roman comedies resembled them, save that while we rank the music above the text, the Romans valued the words far more than the music; but in other respects there was also much resemblance between the Roman tragedies and modern Opera Sena. They divided the music into parts, such as dia­logues or duets, solos, and choruses.
Cicero says that a connoisseur could instantly determine by the style of the music alone, what tragedy was being performed; this would indicate an amount of tone-painting, which justifies our comparison of the Roman with the modern stage.
The theatres were, as usual, of immense size. The Emperor Trajan built an Odeum, or music hall, of which Apollodorus was the architect, which was capable of seating twelve thousand spectators. These structures were usually built






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