Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lend Me Your Ears: Synaulia and "Synphoniaci"

Today's random tune is going to sound a little strange. Synphoniaci is an interpretation of what the music of ancient Rome sounded like, played on instruments that Romans would have at their disposal. The group that plays it, Synaulia, is a team of musicians, archeologists, paleorganologists and choreographers that use historical research to present as accurately as possible ancient Roman and Etruscan music. Founded by Italian paleorganologist Walter Maioli and choreographer and anthropologist Nathalie Van Ravenstein in conjunction with the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the group originally concentrated on the reconstruction of ancient wind and stringed instruments. With the lack of musical notation from the Roman period, the musicians and researchers have relied on the capabilities of the various instruments and their melodic and harmonic possibilities, along with reliance on iconography, textual analysis, social studies and customs to recreate what the music of ancient Rome and Etruria might have sounded like. The group has provided music for movies focusing on the era, most notably Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Synphoniaci can be found on their 2003 album Music from Ancient Rome Vol. 2 (String Instruments).