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Title: Science, music and theatre : an interdisciplinary approach to the singing tragic chorus of Greek tragedy
Author: Dunbar, Zachary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 5403
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis argues for the relevance of the history of Science, and its natural corollaries of music and space, in order to understand the chorus and its historical and cultural interconnections. The synchronous emergence of ancient natural philosophy, a new form of mousike and theatre space during the birth of the tragic chorus is more than coincidence. In seminal productions of Greek tragedy throughout European history the singing tragic chorus will be aligned with concurrent modulations in scientific principles and in aesthetics. My interdisciplinary approach recognizes an on-going interrelation between science and the arts based on shifting notions of the principles of order and disorder. Using a history of ideas framework, a scientific analogue describes the conceptual changes that emerge out of the tensions between tradition and innovation . The singing tragic chorus serves as a historical touchstone, each chapter focusing on an exemplary production in the performance history of Greek tragedy: Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus in c. 429 BCE Athens (ancient), Oedipus Rex in 1585 Vicenza (renaissance), Antigone in 1841 Potsdam (classical/romantic), and Oedipus Rex in 1927 Paris (modernist). The chronological arrangement is structured as a comparative reading and not as a continuous historical narrative or comprehensive survey. The interface of science with music and theatre will be discussed from two standpoints which I have defined as Chorality and Theatricality. In Chorality, I look at the relationship of text and music. In Theatricality, I discuss the interaction of the chorus with theatre space. Using the singing tragic chorus as a nexus for the interaction of science and art, I conclude that the dynamic coexistence of order and disorder, in both nature and the human condition, continually necessitates changes in the explanatory and descriptive language of both disciplines.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available