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Headword: Δίεσιν
Adler number: delta,954
Translated headword: diesis, interval
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Meaning] separation.[1] Also the movement before a musical ode.[2]
"Δίεσις is the name for the smallest measure of the enharmonic[3] intervals, which -- having ceased to be perceived by our senses -- led the enharmonic genre to perish,[4] since the sense of hearing remained untrained to it."[5]
Greek Original:
Δίεσιν: διαχωρισμόν. καὶ ἡ πρὸ μουσικῆς ᾠδῆς κίνησις. δίεσις λέγεται τὸ ἐλάχιστον μέτρον τῶν ἐναρμονίων διαστημάτων, ὅπερ ἀπολωλὸς ἐκ τῆς ἡμετέρας αἰσθήσεως καὶ τὸ ἐναρμόνιον προσαπώλεσεν, ἀγυμνάστου πρὸς αὐτὸ τῆς ἀκοῆς ἀπολελειμμένης.
Notes:
The headword is accusative singular of δίεσις (delta 955).
[1] = Hesychius delta1656, Synagoge delta264.
[2] = Photius delta547 (including the initial gloss), with the exception that in place of the Suda's ἡ πρὸ μουσικῆς ᾠδῆς κίνησις ('the movement before a musical ode'), Photius' text reads ἡ πρώτη κατὰ μουσικῆς ᾠδῆς κίνησις ('the first movement into a musical ode')
[3] = Damascius fr. 199 Zintzen (127 Asmus); cf. Photius, Bibliotheca 344b.19-22.
[4] cf. Boethius, De institutione musica 1.21 diesis est semitonii dimidium [...] Enarmonium vero quod est [...] cantatur in omnibus tetrachordis per diesin et diesin et ditonum. See also, very generally Hesychius delta1657 δίεσις παρὰ τοῖς μουσικοῖς καλεῖται μέρος τι τόνου . According to Pap. 13 Hibeh (ed. Grenfell-Hunt I, p. 14, lines 15-17), among the three main genres of ancient music (diatonic, chromatic, enharmonic) the enharmonic one was peculiar to tragic Athenian drama.
[5] Many ancient sources emphasize the difficulty of singing in the enharmonic genre: e.g. Aristoxenus held the diatonic one to be earliest, because it was the most proper to human voices. The enharmonic is defined as the most elegant one, but also the hardest; the audience got used to hearing this kind of harmony only with some trouble. (A similar assessment occurs in Aristides Quintilianus 1.9.19 M. = 16,10-18 W.)
Reference:
L. Richter, Pathos und Harmonía. Melodisch-tonale Aspekte der Attischen Tragödie (Prismata, 10), Peter Lang, Frankfurt a.M. 2000
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; medicine; meter and music; poetry; tragedy
Translated by: Antonella Ippolito on 2 May 2005@15:00:28.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (some additions to notes; cosmetics) on 3 May 2005@04:55:14.
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaking) on 9 July 2012@05:43:35.
William Hutton (modified and augmented notes) on 24 August 2013@16:59:45.
David Whitehead (note numbering; cosmetics) on 7 November 2015@10:29:47.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 3 August 2016@21:04:33.

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