Muse

For other uses see Muse (disambiguation).

In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek Μουσαι, Mousai) are nine archaic goddesses who embody the right evocation of myth, inspired through remembered and improvised song and traditional music and dances. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes.

According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. For Alcman and Mimnermus, they were even more primordial, springing from Uranus and Gaia.

Compare the Roman inspiring nymphs of springs, the Camenae.

Muses in myth

According to Pausanias there were three original Muses: Aoide ("song", "voice"), Melete ("practice" or "occasion") and Mneme ("memory") (Paus. 9.29.1). Together, they form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice.

The canonical nine Muses are:

  • Euterpe (music)
  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (sacred poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dancing)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Together, they form a complete picture of the subjects proper to poetic art in the archaic period. However, the association of specific muses with specific art forms is a later innovation, and has been called pedantic.

In Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical art, Muses depicted in sculptures or paintings are often distinguished by certain props or poses, as emblems. Euterpe (music) carries a flute; Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Erato (lyric poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask; Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is often seen with a pensive expression; Terpsichore (dancing) is often seen dancing and carrying a lyre; Thalia (comedy) is often seen with a comic mask; and Urania (astronomy) carries a staff pointed at a celestial globe.

Function in Society

Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "song" or "poem". In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to sing a song". The word is probably derived from the Indo-European root *men-, which is also the source of Greek Mnemosyne, Latin Minerva, and English "mind", "mental" and "memory".

The Muses were therefore both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike, whence "music", was the art of the Muses. In the archaic period, before the widespread availability of books, this included nearly all of learning: the first Greek book on astronomy, by Thales, was set in dactylic hexameter, as were many works of pre-Socratic philosophy; both Plato and the Pythagoreans explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of mousike (Strabo 10.3.10). Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, named each one of the nine books of his Histories after a different Muse.

For poet and lawgiver Solon (fragment 13), the Muses were the key to the good life, since they brought both prosperity and friendship. Solon sought to perpetuate his political reforms by establishing recitations of his poetry—complete with invocations to his practical-minded Muses—by Athenian boys at festivals every year.

The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried them. They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest.

Function in literature

The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or story. They have served as aid to an author, or as the true speaker for which an author is only a mouthpiece. Originally the invocation of the Muse was an indication that the speaker was working inside the poetic tradition, according to the established formulae.

Two classic examples: Homer, Book I of The Odyssey:

"Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero
who travelled far and wide
after he had sacked the famous town of Troy."

... And Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:

O Muses, o high genious, aid me now!
O memory that noted what I saw,
Now shall your true nobility be seen!

Cults of the Muses

When Pythagoras arrived at Croton, his first advice to the Crotoniates was to build a shrine of the Muses at the center of the city, to promote civic harmony and learning.

Local cults of the Muses were often associated with springs or fountains. They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mount Parnassos called the Corycian Cave.

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as Mousagetes "Muse-leader".

Muse-worship was also often associated with the hero-cults of poets: the tombs of Archilochus on Thasos and Hesiod and Thamyris (whom they blinded) in Boeotia all played host to festivals in which poetic recitations were accompanied by sacrifices to the Muses.

The Library of Alexandria and its circle of scholars were formed around a mousaion ("museum" or shrine of the Muses) close by the tomb of Alexander the Great.

Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a "Cult of the Muses" in the 18th century. A popular Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Neuf Soeurs ("nine sisters", i.e. nine Muses), and was attended by Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. One side-effect of this movement was the use of the word "museum" (originally, "cult place of the Muses") to refer to a place for the public display of knowledge.

The classical tradition

The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse".

The word muse is used figuratively to denote someone who inspires an artist.


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The word muse is used figuratively to denote someone who inspires an artist. The book Messages, written by Johnny Waller and Paul Humphreys' brother Mike Humphreys, details the career of the band up to the time of The Best of OMD. The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse". There were two official magazines about the band, Telegraph, and, currently, Messages. One side-effect of this movement was the use of the word "museum" (originally, "cult place of the Muses") to refer to a place for the public display of knowledge. An album of unreleased material by the band is scheduled to be released in 2005. nine Muses), and was attended by Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. McCluskey would continue for another decade, joined by Liverpool musicians Lloyd Massett and Stuart Kershaw.

A popular Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Neuf Soeurs ("nine sisters", i.e. Though Humphreys left the band after The Best of OMD, he collaborated with McCluskey on the songwriting for Universal, the band's 1996 swan song. Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a "Cult of the Muses" in the 18th century. One of OMD's biggest hits, "If You Leave," (1985) was written specifically for the John Hughes movie Pretty in Pink. The Library of Alexandria and its circle of scholars were formed around a mousaion ("museum" or shrine of the Muses) close by the tomb of Alexander the Great. By now the band were seeing their critical and public popularity wane in the UK, whilst they struggled to break the US market. Muse-worship was also often associated with the hero-cults of poets: the tombs of Archilochus on Thasos and Hesiod and Thamyris (whom they blinded) in Boeotia all played host to festivals in which poetic recitations were accompanied by sacrifices to the Muses. This 6 piece line also released The Pacific Age (1986).

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as Mousagetes "Muse-leader". With the recording of Crush, (1985) Graham and Neil Weir began playing with the group (on guitar and brass), produced by Stephen Hague. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mount Parnassos called the Corycian Cave. Two laserdiscs, Live at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (1982) and Crush the Movie (1985) were released only in Japan. Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. 1984's Junk Culture saw a return to a more poppy sound and saw the band using digital sampling keyboards such as the Fairlight CMI and the Emu Emulator. They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. It was recorded by the 4-piece Humpreys/Holmes/Cooper/Mcluskey line-up, and produced by Rhett Davies.

Local cults of the Muses were often associated with springs or fountains. 1983 saw the band lose commercial momentum somewhat, with the release of their 'difficult' Dazzle Ships albums, which mixed melancholy synth ballads and uptempo synth pop with musique concrete and short wave radio tape collages. When Pythagoras arrived at Croton, his first advice to the Crotoniates was to build a shrine of the Muses at the center of the city, to promote civic harmony and learning. Hit singles Joan of Arc and Maid of Orleans were taken from the album. And Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:. They used it to add very atmospheric swatches of string, choir and other sounds to their palette. .. The album's striking sound saw OMD's original synth-pop sound augmented by the mellotron, an instrument previously associated with prog rock bands.

Two classic examples: Homer, Book I of The Odyssey:. The 4-piece went into the studio with Richard Mainwaring producing, Cooper then temporarily dropping out and being replaced by Mike Douglas, but this changed being reversed by the time the album was released and a tour embarked upon. Originally the invocation of the Muse was an indication that the speaker was working inside the poetic tradition, according to the established formulae. 1981 would see the release of what many consider OMD's magnum opus (and it was also the peak of their commercial success in the UK and Europe) - the Architecture & Morality album. They have served as aid to an author, or as the true speaker for which an author is only a mouthpiece. It ushered in a striking lush choral electronic sound. The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or story. Howlett then presided over the recording of a further hit single, Souvenir, co-written by Cooper & Humphreys.

They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest. The tour for this album saw a 4-piece band line-up, with saxophonist Martin Cooper recruited for keyboard duties. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried them. The album spawned the huge hit single Enola Gay, named after the plane which dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima. The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. It was again produced by Howlett, and saw a rather moodier, dark feel. Solon sought to perpetuate his political reforms by establishing recitations of his poetry—complete with invocations to his practical-minded Muses—by Athenian boys at festivals every year. The second album Organisation followed later that year, recorded as a 3 piece with Humphreys, McCluskey and Holmes.

For poet and lawgiver Solon (fragment 13), the Muses were the key to the good life, since they brought both prosperity and friendship. A tour followed, Winston the tape recorded being ditched for good, and replaced with live drums from Mal Holmes, and Dalek I Love You's Dave Hughs on synths. Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, named each one of the nine books of his Histories after a different Muse. DinDisc arranged for the song Messages to be re-recorded (produced by Gong bassist Mike Howlett) and released as a single - this gave the band their first hit. In the archaic period, before the widespread availability of books, this included nearly all of learning: the first Greek book on astronomy, by Thales, was set in dactylic hexameter, as were many works of pre-Socratic philosophy; both Plato and the Pythagoreans explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of mousike (Strabo 10.3.10). It had a simple, raw, poppy, melodic synthpop sound. The Muses were therefore both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike, whence "music", was the art of the Muses. The eponymous first album (1980) showcased the band's live set at the time, and was basically recorded by the Humphreys/McCluskey duo, although included some guest drums from Id drummer Mal Holmes, and saxophone from Wirral musician Martin Cooper.

The word is probably derived from the Indo-European root *men-, which is also the source of Greek Mnemosyne, Latin Minerva, and English "mind", "mental" and "memory". Finding themselves on the cusp of an electronic new wave in British pop-music, they released a one-off single with legendary independent label Factory Records (the single sleeve was designed by Peter Saville, whose distinctive graphics provided OMD's public image well into the mid-80s), and were then quickly snapped up by Virgin subsiduary DinDisc. In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to sing a song". They began to gig regularly as a duo, accompanied on stage by a Revox tape-recorder of backing tracks called "Winston". Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "song" or "poem". McCluskey briefly sang with electronic Wirral quartet Dalek I Love You, however eventually rejoined Humphreys, and their VCL XI project was rechristened Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. In Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical art, Muses depicted in sculptures or paintings are often distinguished by certain props or poses, as emblems. Euterpe (music) carries a flute; Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Erato (lyric poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask; Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is often seen with a pensive expression; Terpsichore (dancing) is often seen dancing and carrying a lyre; Thalia (comedy) is often seen with a comic mask; and Urania (astronomy) carries a staff pointed at a celestial globe. In 1978, The Id split due to the traditional musical differences.

However, the association of specific muses with specific art forms is a later innovation, and has been called pedantic. Meanwhile Humphreys & McCluskey collaborated on a side-project called VCL XI (named after a valve from the diagram on the cover of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album), where they pursued their more bizarre electronic experiments, often working with tape collages, home-made kit-built synthesiers, and circuit-bent radios. Together, they form a complete picture of the subjects proper to poetic art in the archaic period. They had quite a following on the scene, and one of their tracks (Julia's Song) was included on a compilation record of local bands called Street to Street. The canonical nine Muses are:. The group began to gig regularly in the Merseyside area, performing original material (largely written by McCluskey & Humphreys). Together, they form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice. By 1977, McCluskey & Humphreys put together 7-piece (3 singers, 2 guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards!) Wirral 'supergroup' The Id, whose line-up included drummer Malcolm Holmes and McCluskey's girlfriend Julia Kneale on vocals.

9.29.1). The pair shared a love of electronic music, particularly Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. According to Pausanias there were three original Muses: Aoide ("song", "voice"), Melete ("practice" or "occasion") and Mneme ("memory") (Paus. McCluskey would usually sing and play bass guitar, whilst electronics enthusiast Humphreys initially began as a roadie, graduating to keyboards. Compare the Roman inspiring nymphs of springs, the Camenae. As teenagers, Humphreys and McCluskey were involved in several unsigned Wirral bands, including including Equinox, Pegasus, and the short-lived Hitlerz Underpantz. For Alcman and Mimnermus, they were even more primordial, springing from Uranus and Gaia.
.

According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. McCluskey then retained the name and continued to record and tour as OMD with a new line-up. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes.. The group was founded by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, and they formed the core of the outfit until 1989, when the group split. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark or OMD were a synth pop group from the Wirral, UK, who recorded for Virgin Records (originally for Virgin's DinDisc subsidiary). In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek Μουσαι, Mousai) are nine archaic goddesses who embody the right evocation of myth, inspired through remembered and improvised song and traditional music and dances. The Best of OMD - 1988.

Urania (astronomy). Crush the Movie - 1985. Thalia (comedy). Live at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane - 1982. Terpsichore (dancing). Crush the Movie - 1985. Polyhymnia (sacred poetry). Live at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane - 1982.

Melpomene (tragedy). "The OMD Remixes" (5-inch CD single containing remixes of "Enola Gay," "Souvenir" and "Electricity"). Erato (lyric poetry). "Universal" - 1996. Clio (history). "Walking on the Milky Way" - 1996. Calliope (epic poetry). "Everyday" - 1993.

Euterpe (music). "Dream of Me (Based on Love's Theme)" - 1993. "Stand Above Me" - 1993. "Call My Name" - 1991. "The You Turn Away" - 1991.

"Pandora's Box" - 1991. "Sailing on the Seven Seas" - 1991. "Dreaming" - 1988. "Shame" - 1987.

"We Love You" - 1986. "(Forever) Live and Die" - 1986 (also released as picture disc). "If You Leave" - 1986. "La Femme Accident" - 1985 (also released as shaped picture disc).

"Secret" - 1985. "So In Love" - 1985. "Never Turn Away" - 1984. "Tesla Girls" - 1984.

"Talking Loud & Clear" - 1984. "Locomotion" - 1984. "Telegraph" - 1983. "Genetic Engineering" - 1983.

"Maid of Orleans" - 1982. "Joan of Arc" - 1981. "Souvenir" - 1981. "Enola Gay" - 1980.

"Messages" - 1980. "Red Frame/White Light" - 1980. "Electricity" - 1979. Navigation - The OMD B-Sides - 2001.

The Peel Sessions -2000. The OMD Singles - 1998. Universal - 1996. Liberator - 1993.

Sugar Tax - 1991. The Best of OMD - 1988. The Pacific Age - 1986. Crush - 1985.

Junk Culture - 1984 (first copies came with enclosed one-sided 7-inch single, "The Angels Keep Turning (The Wheels of the Universe)"). Dazzle Ships - 1983. Architecture & Morality - 1981. - 1981.

O.M.D. Organisation - 1980. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - 1980.

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