Terpander - Encyclopedia

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TERPANDER, of Antissa in Lesbos, Greek poet and musician. About the time of the Second Messenian war, he settled in Sparta, whither, according to some accounts, he had been summoned by command of the Delphian oracle, to compose the differences which had arisen between different classes in the state. Here he gained the prize in the musical contests at the festival Carnea (676-2 B.C.; Athenaeus, 635 E.). He is regarded as the real founder of Greek classical music, and of lyric poetry; but as to his innovations in music our information is imperfect. According to Strabo (xiii. p. 618) he increased the number of strings in the lyre from four to seven; others take the fragment cf Terpander on which Strabo bases his statement (Bergk, 5) to mean that he developed the citharoedic nomos (sung to the accompaniment of the cithara or lyre) by making the divisions of the ode seven instead of four. The seven-stringed lyre was probably already in existence. Terpander is also said to have introduced several new rhythms in addition to the dactylic, and to have been famous as a composer of drinking-songs.

Fragments (the genuineness of which is doubtful) in T. Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci, iii.; see also 0. Lowe, De Terpandri Lesbii aetate (1869), who places him about 676 B.C.

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