Page:Odes of Pindar (Paley).djvu/19

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xiii
PREFACE.

the music. All Greek metre of the choral kind is in fact a dancing-step of some sort; the beat to which an air was danced and sung.[1] Hence the metre is called πέδιλον in Ol. iii. 5. The terms strophe and antistrophe mean, that the same dance, consisting of a certain number of turns and figures, performed by one half of the chorus, was taken up responsively by the other half, in the way of part and counterpart. Pindar's metres in this respect do not differ in any essential particular from those of the Greek choruses, which were also performed to music, like our operas. Those odes which have the Doric beat are in fact extremely simple, being mere alternations of trochees with dactyls, as in the third Olympian and the fourth Pythian ode. The Aeolian or Aeolo-Lydian odes are distinguished by combinations of short syllables, and they are more complex and less simple in their beat. The two first Olympian odes are Aeolian, the fourth is Aeolo-Lydian, and more nearly approaches the dactylic run of the Dorian.

The simplest and oldest form of the comus-song

  1. This, I conceive, was the ῥυθμὸς or "time" of the music. Dr. Donaldson's explanation of the word (Preface, p. xvi.) is to me somewhat obscure; he says it was "either the relative duration of the sounds which enter into the composition of a piece of music, or the relative duration of the times occupied in pronouncing the syllables of a verse." In other words, he says, it was "a regulating principle which connected the music with the metres."