30393 - Greek Metrics and Music (1) (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Marco Ercoles

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition (cod. 9070)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Nov 08, 2021 to Dec 16, 2021


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know in detail Greek metrics and its relationship with ancient Greek music.

Course contents

Special focus course

a) Ibycus' versification

Core course

b) Fundamentals of Greek metrics and rhythmics

Lectures hours: Monday 13-15, Tuesday 15-17, Thursday 13-15, Aula Seminari (via Zamboni 32, 1st floor)

Beginning of the lectures: 8 November 2021


a) Class notes. For the text of Ibycus, the standard edition is M. Davies, Poetarum Melicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (PMGF), I, Oxford 1991, 235-305, but other critical editions will be taken into account too, esp. D.A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, III, Cambridge, Mass.-London 1991, 208-293 e C.L. Wilkinson, The Lyric of Ibycus, introd., text and comm., Berlin-Boston 2013. Further references will be provided during the course.

b) I. For the fundamental notions of Greek metrics the study of one of the following handbooks is requested: M.L. West, Greek metre, Oxford, OUP, 1982; M.C. Martinelli, Gli strumenti del poeta. Elementi di metrica greca, Bologna, 1997; B. Gentili-L. Lomiento, Metrica e ritmica. Storia delle forme poetiche nella Grecia antica, Milano 2003. II. The poetic texts which students must analyse from a metrical point of view will be provided by the teacher during the lectures. III. The relationship between the poetic text and the musical rhythm will be taken into consideration during the lessons. For an overview of ancient Greek music, it is requested the study of G. Comotti, La musica nella cultura greca e romana, Torino, EDT, 1991 (only pp. 3-44, 97-101).

Students who cannot attend the course will replace the class notes with the metrical and stylistic analysis of a poetic text of their choice (to be agreed with the teacher) and will prepare the texts of Archilochus, Mimnermus, Solon, Sappho, Anacreon, Stesichorus and Bacchylides included in one of the following anthologies: E. Degani-G. Burzacchini, Lirici greci, Bologna, Pàtron, 20052; C. Neri, Lirici greci. Età arcaica e classica, Roma, Carocci, 2011.

Teaching methods

The first and most extensive part of the course will include both theoretical lessons (during which the main ancient and modern metrical theories will be illustrated and the problem of the relationship between poetic text and musical rhythm will be addressed), as well as workshop-like lessons (during which the main ancient Greek rhythms and meters of Greek will be treated and the students will be involved in the rhythmic reading of the verses).

The second part of the course, which will occupy the last lessons, will be focused on the metrical and stylistic analysis of a poem or a poetic fragment, in order to apply to it the skills acquired during the previous lessons and to examine the relationship between the metrical and the semantic level. After a brief introduction, these last meetings will have the form of a seminar.

Assessment methods

Students will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their learning during the seminar-like lessons of the course, where they will be invited to scan some verses and to recognise the metrical pattern.

The conclusive examination is oral and consists in an interview, in which the students will be asked to analyze - according to the methodology already experienced during the workshop-like lessons - some verses, both recited and lyric (among those provided in photocopy), as well as the poem/poetic fragment examined during the second part of the course.

In particular, the student should demonstrate that she/he has acquired an adequate knowledge (1) of prosody, (2) of the main recited and sung meters, (3) of the theoretic fundamentals of metrics and ancient Greek music.

The exam will be considered passed if the candidate gives proof of a solid knowledge of the three points listed above and of an adequate ability to analyze the poetic texts treated in class. A rhythmic reading of both recited and lyric verses is required.

In this case, the evaluation ranges from 18 to 30 cum laude depending on how sure, well-founded, precise and rigorous will be the answers of the candidate.

Teaching tools

PC, photocopied handouts, IOL, Power point.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Marco Ercoles