Music, Language and Identity in Greece: Defining a National Art Music in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Music, Language and Identity in Greece

Defining a National Art Music in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 1st Edition

Edited by Polina Tambakaki, Panos Vlagopoulos, Katerina Levidou, Roderick Beaton


320 pages

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Hardback: 9781138280021
pub: 2019-10-01
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The national element in music has been the subject of important studies yet the scholarly framework has remained restricted almost exclusively to the field of music studies. This volume brings together experts from different fields (musicology, literary theory, and modern Greek studies), who investigate the links that connect music, language and national identity, focusing on the Greek paradigm. Through the study of the Greek case, the book paves the way for innovative interdisciplinary approaches to the formation of the ‘national’ in different cultures, shedding new light on ideologies and mechanisms of cultural policies.

Table of Contents

Editors’ preface

List of Contributors


Roderick Beaton

Part I Contested histories: Greek art music in retrospect

1. Karl Otfried Müller and Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos: Dorism, music and Greek identity

Christophe Corbier

2. Canonising Byzantine chant as Greek art music

Alexander Lingas

3. National music history on the eve of ‘the end of music history’: Greek music historiography and its Western models

Katy Romanou

4. Odes, anthems and battle songs: creating citizens through music in Greece during the long nineteenth century


5. Delving into the Athens Conservatoire Archive: musical education as a national need


Part II ‘National music’: Kalomiris, Skalkottas and beyond

6. The harmonisation of Greek folk songs and Greek ‘national music’


7. Alternative Greek national music: the case of Petros Petridis


8. The last defender: Kalomiris’s Constantine Palaiologos and the ‘Idea of Greek Music’

Ioannis Tsagkarakis

9. A Greek icon: heteroglossia, ambiguity and identity in the music of Nikos Skalkottas


10. A museum of Greekness: Skalkottas’ 36 Greek dances as a record of his homeland and his time


11. Traversing melancholy: Skalkottas reads Esperas


Part III Music and language: modern poetry, ancient drama

12. ‘You used to sing all my songs’: poetry, language and song from Solomos to Seferis

Peter Mackridge

13. Reading Polylas’s ‘Prolegomena’ (1859): poetry and music, history and cultural politics


14. Can surrealism sing? Nikos Gatsos and song-writing


15. Greek productions of ancient Greek drama in the first half of the twentieth century: music and words


16. Performing (ancient) Greek modernism: modernist music and the staging of ancient drama



Jim Samson

Appendix: Greek composers setting poetry to music: a personal perspective

George Couroupos


About the Editors

Polina Tambakaki is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Hellenic Studies (CHS), King’s College London.

Panos Vlagopoulos is Associate Professor in the Department of Music Studies and Director of the Hellenic Music Lab at the Ionian University, Corfu.

Katerina Levidou is Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at King’s College London (Centre for Hellenic Studies).

Roderick Beaton is Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London.

About the Series

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Initiated in 1993 as an extension of the activities of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London, this series covers all aspects of Greek culture and civilization. The volumes published to date present a broad range of topics from ancient to modern, including the papers of several international symposia held at KCL. Titles deal with the history and image of Alexandria, the image of Socrates across the centuries, the early years of El Greco, the making of Modern Greece, Greek-Turkish relations in modern times, and the history of Greek photography. Volumes recently published or in preparation cover the reign of the 12th-century Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos, the politics behind Lord Byron’s intervention in the Greek Revolution in the 1820s and Greek art music since the early 19th century.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Greece (see also Ancient / Greece)
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology