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Etruscan Music and Musical Instruments

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Kelsey Engelman

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Etruscan Music and Musical Instruments

Etruscan Music and Musical Instruments
-Etruscans left many painted scenes of musical performances, but no written texts exist
-IT is theorized, that the absence of musical manuscripts suggests that Etruscans had more of an oral musical tradition as opposed to a written one
-Music played an important role in various aspects of life such as: banquets, religious celebrations, and funeral rites- as well as an association with magical and spiritual aspects
-Although Etruscans were praised for their musical talent and capability, all of what we know is theoretical as we can only estimate the true value of musical notes
-It is in my opinion that

What Can We Infer?
-The Liber Lintaeus of Zagreb depicts rythmic phrases and patterns

-Games of the Annual Fanum Volfumnae (
ceremonial events

-Origin of the terms Syndeipnon & Symposium (

-Piny the Elder's Description of the Tomb of Lars Porsenna; 550 BCE at Clusium/ modern day Chiusi (
funerary/ apotropaic function

Stringed Instruments
- All stringed instruments are members of the
Lyre family. This was the most commonly played
instrument in Etruscan society as we can see a much higher density in musical subjects depicted on
Etruscan tomb paintings and stone reliefs than in .
-Although there are various components that suggest Etruscan music is in large connected to Greek music, there appears to many differences that cause
Concert Kithara is very unlikely to have been played by Etruscans

Wood lyres (Sound box was made out of wood)

Shell lyres (Turtoise Carpace with oxhide stretched over)

-Greek Mythology attributes the invention of the lyre to Hermes

Wind Instruments
-Tuba: A straight trumpet made out of copper or iron.

-The Lituus: L-shaped wind instrument made of bronze, keyless, valve-less, and was likely played like a modern bugle.

-The Cornu: A coiled brass instrument, often w/ a huge diameter

-The Tibia: Type of flute played during the Ludi Scenici

-The Aulos: A double flute known as the Etruscan national instrument
The Cylinder Kithara
-In Tarquinia there lies a vast number of tomb paintings
These paintings depict a distinctive, round bottomed type of lyre, the same as seen on Athenian Vases
-Tomb stones from Chiusi (cippi) also depict Cylinder Kitharas
-Max Wegner calls this the cradle-kithara due to its rocker shaped bottom
-Often shown in Etruria
Tomb of the Triclinium in Tarquinia

Concert Kithara
-Flat bottom lyre with elaborately constructed arms
-Not common in Etruscan images, suggests that Etruscan painters may have only seen the instrument from Greek depictions
-A symbol for classical music
-Held a prestigious role in
Athens, opposed to the modest role one it played in Etruria.
During funeral ceremonies the flute and lyre were often played to lighten the atmosphere of the banquet and persuade people to dance.
Concert Kithara
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