Saturday, January 13, 7100

Mesomedes of Crete (b. c. AD 100) - Modes

Mesomedes of Crete (b. c. AD 100) - Hymn to the Sun (AD 130)

Mesomedes was a Roman-era Greek lyric composer, poet, and freedman of Emperor Hadrian,.

His works include two epigrams in the Greek Anthology, and three hymns -- respectively to Nemesis, Calliope, and the Sun.


The few bits of Greek and Roman notation that survive are often in asymmetrical and/or changing meters in one of the Greek modes, named after regions of Greece proper or the outlying lands of Asia Minor. The Medieval theorist Boethius would later misidentify the modes as listed below, with solfege patterns (Ra, Me, Le, Te are lowered versions of Re, Mi, La, Ti, and Fi a raised version of Fa) and comments/examples.

Lydian - Do Re Mi Fi Sol La Te Do (Exotic Major - First Delphic Hymn, c. 138 BC)

Ionian - Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do (Major - Roman Church Father St. Ambrose Eternal Founder of All Thing, AD 388 [Ambrosian Hymn])

Mixolydian - Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Te Do (Blues Major - Epitaph of Sekilos, AD 1)

Dorian - Do Re Me Fa Sol La Te Do (Blues Minor [Plato's favorite!] - Gregorian Chant - Kyrie IV, c. AD 600)

Aeolian - Do Re Me Fa Sol Le Te Do (Minor - Chinese Entrance Hymn of the Emperor, 1000 BC)

Phrygian - Do Ra Me Fa Sol Le Te Do (Exotic Minor - Mesomenes of Crete Hymn to the Sun, AD 130)

[7100 Uganda / 7100 Mesomedes / 7100 Mozambique]