Music of ancient Rome

The music of ancient Rome was a part of Roman culture from earliest times. Music was customary at funerals, and the tibia (Greek aulos), a woodwind instrument, was played at sacrifices to ward off ill influences. Song (carmen) was an integral part of almost every social occasion. The Secular Ode of Horace, for instance, was commissioned by Augustus and performed by a mixed children's choir at the Secular Games in 17 BC. Under the influence of ancient Greek theory, music was thought to reflect the orderliness of the cosmos, and was associated particularly with mathematics and knowledge. Etruscan music had an early influence on that of the Romans. During the Imperial period, Romans carried their music to the provinces, while traditions of Asia Minor, North Africa and Gaul became a part of Roman culture. Music accompanied spectacles and events in the arena, and was part of the performing arts form called pantomimus, an early form of story ballet that combined expressive dancing, instrumental music and a sung libretto. The Romans may have borrowed the Greek method[page needed] of 'enchiriadic notation' to record their music, if they used any notation at all. Four letters (in English notation 'A', 'G', 'F' and 'C') indicated a series of four succeeding tones. Rhythm signs, written above the letters, indicated the duration of each note. No musician is depicted in art reading music, and no written examples of Roman music have yet been discovered.[citation needed] The Romans may have tuned their instruments to Greek modes. The Roman tuba was a long, straight bronze trumpet w

th a detachable, conical mouthpiece like that of the modern French horn. Extant examples are about 1.3 metres long, and have a cylindrical bore from the mouthpiece to the point where the bell flares abruptly, similar to the modern straight trumpet seen in presentations of 'period music'. Since there were no valves, the tuba was capable only of a single overtone series that would probably sound familiar to the modern ear, given the limitations of musical acoustics for instruments of this construction. In the military, it was used for "bugle calls". The tuba is also depicted in art such as mosaics accompanying games (ludi) and spectacle events. The cornu (Latin "horn") was a long tubular metal wind instrument that curved around the musician's body, shaped rather like an uppercase G. It had a conical bore (again like a French horn) and a conical mouthpiece. It may be hard to distinguish from the buccina. The cornu was used for military signals and on parade. The cornicen was a military signal officer who translated orders into calls. Like the tuba, the cornu also appears as accompaniment for public events and spectacle entertainments. The tibia (Greek aulos), usually double, had two double-reed (as in a modern oboe) pipes, not joined but generally played with a mouth-band to hold both pipes steadily between the player's lips. Modern changes indicate that they produced a low, clarinet-like sound. There is some confusion about the exact nature of the instrument; alternate descriptions indicate each pipe having a single reed (like a modern clarinet) instead of a double reed.