Myth-ing Sound: Exploring Markers of Music in Athenian Vase Paintings
April 12, 2023 @ 6:30 pm CDT
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society: Kansas City/Lawrence
Lecturer: Danielle Smotherman Bennett
Music features as an important component in a variety of ancient Greek mythological tales, including those portrayed on vases. Athenian vase paintings, however, are a silent medium. This talk demonstrates how images regularly incorporate sound through visual clues inviting viewers to imagine these sensory aspects and how vase painters visually express in different ways music, speech, and other sounds within representations of tales such as Orpheus and Marsyas, among others. Visual markers of sound, such as the inclusion of instruments, figures with an open mouth, and even nonsense inscriptions can entice viewers to relate the depiction with noises an ancient audience would expect. Through engaging the work of scholars and musicians working to recreate ancient Greek music, modern viewers can gain greater insight into the visual representations on ancient ceramics. And can experience how and why ancient Greek artists inspire their audience to fill-in the details of these silent pictures.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Bundrick, Sheramy D. 2005. Music and Image in Classical Athens. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Chiarini, Sara. 2018. The So-Called Nonsense Inscriptions on Ancient Greek Vases: Between Paideia and Paidiá. Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy Vol. 10. Leiden: Brill.
Gurd, Sean Alexander. 2016. Dissonance: Auditory Aesthetics in Ancient Greece. New York: Fordham University Press.
Oakley, John H. 2014. “Classical Athenian Female Musicians at Home.” In ΕΓΡΑΦΣΕΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΠΟΙΣΕΝ: ΜΕΛΕΤΕΣΚΕΡΑΜΙΚΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΚΟΝΟΓΡΑΦΙΑΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΜΗΝ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΗ ΜΙΧΑΛΗ ΤΙΒΕΡΙΟΥ, edited by P. Valavanis and E. Manakidou. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press. 271-8.
Ulieriu-Rostás, Theodor E. 2013. “Music and Socio-Cultural Identity in Attic Vase Painting: Prolegomena to Future Research (Pt 1),” in Music in Art, Vol. 38, No. 1-2, Images of Music-Making and Cultural Exchange between the East and West, pp. 9-26.