The luck of fate has granted the Greek musical heritage the privilege of having preserved, for more than two millennia, its musical notation system, a minority reality in other cultural legacies of antiquity. This legacy has arrived accompanied by some sixty scores that were played for avid listeners of exciting melodies. Some of this music scores were composed to set famous passages from the works of the great Greek tragedians to music. One was Euripides.
The Greeks used the word music to talk about “the art of the muses”. This concept crossed borders and managed to integrate different arts in the same expression: literature, singing, instrumental music, theatrical interpretation, dance, history. This capacity for integration of the ancient Greeks took shape precisely in tragedies, comedies and satirical dramas.
The successful scholars of the Camerata Fiorentina made an almost definitive attempt to rescue the Greek theatre starting from the sung premise. They were not so wrong in the point of view, since it is shown that the classical theatre was to a large extent a dramma in musica. And from that cultivation the opera was born.
The work you are holding in your hands is revealed as another attempt, less daring but more focused on evidence, to approach the role that music played in tragedies, their protagonists (authors of the text, composers, singers…) and the circumstances that surrounded them. With this purpose, about twenty witnesses have been examined and contextualized, all of them, except one, written on papyrus, which allow us to know approximately how tragic music was written and the way it sounded.