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Headword: Δίεσιν
Adler number: delta,954
Translated headword: diesis, interval
Vetting Status: high
[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.
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.)
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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