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Terpander
Birth: unknown
Death: unknown

Ancient Greek Musician, Poet, Teacher. He is traditionally regarded as the father of classical Greek music. The historical Terpander lived from roughly 700 to 640 BC. He first won notoriety in his hometown of Anissa in Lesbos, where it is said he made the invention of the kithara possible by adding three strings to the four-string lyre. His songs were set to his own lyrics or excerpts from Homer. In 676 BC he won the music competition at the Festival of Apollo Carneius in Sparta and later settled there to organize the city-state's musical life, as Sparta's fierce militaristic culture had left little room for the arts to flourish. At least some of his hymns reflected this environment by celebrating military might and employing march rhythms. He also won four consecutive victories at the early Pythian Games in Delphi, spreading his fame throughout Greece. Students of the Spartan music school he founded were longtime champions of the Carneian Games. In Terpander's era and for centuries afterward, only men killed in battle and women who died in childbirth were entitled to marked graves in Sparta. Exceptions were made for great military leaders and cultural figures, but if Terpander was given such a tomb it had disappeared by the 2nd Century AD, when the travel writer Pausanias recorded the notable burial sites he saw there. The fragmentary accounts of Terpander's life were bolstered with colorful legends. Much was made of the fact that his birthplace was the mythical site where the head and lyre of Orpheus washed ashore, and were enshrined. He was forced to flee Lesbos after committing murder; he was summoned to Sparta by the Delphic oracle to quell a potential civil war with the beauty of his songs; he choked to death during a performance when an appreciative fan tossed a fig into his mouth. These tales were probably the work of early generations of traveling kitharodes, who saw Terpander as their hero and sang of themselves as descendants of his muse. Many features of kithara-based music were subsequently attributed to him. These included extending the Greek musical scale from a seventh to an octave; formulating the 7 nomes (styles) of kitharodic song, each with a set tuning and rhythm; inventing the barbiton, a bass version of the lyre; and devising the first instrumental preludes. He was also credited with introducing the skolion (drinking song) and the Mixolydian Mode. His pioneering status was endorsed by Plutarch, Aristotle, Pindar, and other classical writers and musicologists. After the 5th Century BC, traditional Greek music was often dubbed "Terpandrean" to distinguish it from the experiments of the "New Music" composers (Melanippides, Timotheus of Miletus, Philoxenus of Cythera, the playwright Euripides). None of Terpander's work survives - nine fragments assigned to him are considered spurious - and modern scholarship has rejected or rendered doubtful the claims made for him as an innovator. Nevertheless he had an almost mythic status in the history of Ancient Greek music and must still be reckoned with in the subject. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Burial:
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: Location unknown to historians
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Mar 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 86241091
Terpander
Added by: Anonymous
 
Terpander
Added by: Anonymous
 
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- L Hamilton
 Added: Oct. 27, 2014
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