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Adjusting Words to Music: Prolongating Syllables and the Example of ‘Dactylo-Epitrite’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2018

Stefan Hagel*
Austrian Academy of Sciences*


Comparison between an original ancient composition and modern supplements shows that the ancient poetcomposer paid attention to sub-metrical parameters defining the suitability of a metrically long syllable for extended voiced performance. This criterion is explored as a potential guide to overlong syllables, developing a statistical method including thoroughly calculated weighted expectations. The method is then applied to Pindar's dactylo-epitritic Epinicia, where the rhythmical time of ‘missing link syllables’ is shown to have been incorporated within the preceding syllable. The notation and the rhythm of dactylo-epitrites are discussed in detail.

Research Article
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 2018 

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* This paper is based on research funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) through grant P24924-G19. I wish to express my gratitude to one JHS anonymous referee for investing so much time and acumen in helping me make the argument more accessible and to the other for alerting me to possible misunderstandings.