Greek stories and musical settings
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now started
- Course Code: MD703C
- Dates: 15/01/24 - 25/03/24
- Time: 18:00 - 19:30
- Taught: Mon, Evening
- Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
- Location: Online
- Tutor: Katy Hamilton, Nikoletta Manioti
Course Code: MD703C
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
Myth was a key part of ancient culture and, as a result, Classical literature abounds in tales about gods and heroes. From wars for the sake of the most beautiful woman to quests to the far sides of the earth for magical objects, these myths provided material for reflection and inspiration to Greek and Roman authors alike. We will focus on a selection of such myths and discover their power to resonate with readers from antiquity to the present day.
From the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, these stories were frequently used to provide the basis of musical works, particularly operas and cantatas – though the details of the story were sometimes changed to suit the fashions and ethical dilemmas of the time. We will study pieces from the very earliest history of opera, through to twentieth-century realisations of classical stories, and consider not only how the characters have been conjured through music, but also whether elements of the stories have been changed in each case, and why.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The stories of Daphne and Apollo; Acis, Galatea and Polyphemus; Midas, Apollo and Pan; Electra; Andromache; Phaedra and Hippolytus
- Texts by Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Theocritus, and Ovid
- Musical settings by J.S. Bach, Handel, Richard Strauss and Pauline Viardot, among others
- Variations in narrative between ancient writers, and adjustments subsequently made in musical settings
- Dramatic devices used by composers to bring these characters to life.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify the key characteristics of, and the reasons behind, each retelling of the myth
- List some of the strategies used by composers to characterise the principal protagonists of the stories we have explored
- Reflect on the reasons for dramatic changes made by composers and librettists to their classical sources.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No knowledge of the Classical world is expected for this course. All texts will be examined in English translation, but the original will also be available alongside extensive text notes.
We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities. All texts will be in English, or accompanied by an English translation. Musical scores are all available free online via IMSLP.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study.
- Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
- You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please have a notebook and pen handy for note-taking.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.