Writing music for an ancient Roman ensemble: artistic research in the recording studio

Tedstone Glover, M.A (2023) Writing music for an ancient Roman ensemble: artistic research in the recording studio. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


The aim of this thesis is to produce a music album of a standard to be suitable for the music production industry. A series of Neo-Hellenic ensemble compositions have been composed and recorded to get as close as possible to ancient Roman popular music. By investigating the music that would have been heard by Greco-Romans during the height of the Roman Empire, this thesis will seek to ask how historical accuracy and commercial music are conciliated during music production. Another aim is to seek to define the role, freedoms and constraints that the relationship with a record label and publisher have to the accompanying album, and how they were consolidated and managed. The research is carried out through practice-based ensemble making in the recording studio. The addition of a rattle cup as a possible musical instrument in an ancient Roman ensemble also contributes to our knowledge of ancient Roman music. The methodologies reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the research. For example, scientific music historiography uses the idea that historic data from the past can be extrapolated and related to music, and this was employed in the lyric research, history of music notation, iconography and socio-economic analysis of the period. This approach is combined with art iconography to justify the use of lyre and aulos playing together in an ensemble, even though the balance inequality in a recording studio raises questions about this practice. An ethnographic examination of household accounts, payments to musicians, documented budgets for feast days and numbers of entertainers provides socio-political insights into the payment of musicians, the level of disposable income they would have had and the subsequent impact on affordable instrumentation. Experimental archaeology is another methodology used extensively in the studio because, when working with an ensemble of reconstructed ancient instruments, unanticipated problems and situations arose which may well have occurred in the Greco-Roman era, both with players and instruments. By attempting to solve performance issues relating to the materials that instruments would have been made of, much can be deduced about the musicians’ lives, socio-economic situation and living conditions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

This PhD consists of a piece of critical writing and an album titled 'The Music of Ancient Rome' which was released by Integrity Records in 2021.

Keywords: PhD by Practice, Roman music, Roman culture, Neo-Hellenic music, ensemble compositions, commercial music, historical accuracy, record labels, music production, musical instruments, art criticism, ethnographic research, experimental archaeology
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
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Date Deposited: 05 May 2023 15:24
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 18:30
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/15347
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