Recreating Ancient Music

I just came across this video, a sort of mini documentary, on recreating Ancient Greek music. They go through the methodology and extant sources. I am particularly fascinated by the double aulos, the two pipes played simultaneous (though, unlike the technique that was de rigueur at my primary school, not through one’s nostrils). It’s not clear the extent to which this was to expand harmonic possibility (playing two different notes at once) or to increase the instrument’s range. The music is harmonically very basic, and indeed sounds like a lot of ‘world music’. It goes to show what an extraordinary development polyphony was. More than anything else, it is what distinguishes Western classical music.

I find it odd that a recreation of ancient music has someone conducting. And for such simple music.

What do you think? The music sounds terribly boring to me. But I very much doubt they are performing it as the Ancient Greeks would have done. This recreation sounds academic and staid. I recall Roger Scruton making this distinction somewhere: that what is musicologically interesting is not necessarily musically interesting.

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