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. He is widely recognised as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse". His daughter, Scarlet Page, is a respected photographer. 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. Since 1990, Jimmy Page has been instrumental in remastering the entire Led Zeppelin back catalogue and is currently involved in various charity concerts and charity work particularly the Action for Brazil's Children Trust (ABC Trust), founded by his wife Jimena Gomez-Paratcha in 1998. nine Muses), and was attended by Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. Page has been one member of Led Zeppelin that has always left open the option for a group reunion.

A popular Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Neuf Soeurs ("nine sisters", i.e. Following a highly successful tour in 1995 to support No Quarter, Page and Plant recorded Walking Into Clarksdale, their first full CD together since 1979. Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a "Cult of the Muses" in the 18th century. The soundtrack to the special was released in 1995 as the CD No Quarter, and in 2004 as the DVD No Quarter Unledded. 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. The 90 minute special, dubbed UnLedded premiered to the highest ratings in MTVs history. 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. In 1994, Page reunited with Plant for the penultimate performance in MTVs "Unplugged" series.

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as Mousagetes "Muse-leader". Source: IMDB. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mount Parnassos called the Corycian Cave. In addition, he also collaborated with director Michael Winner to record the Death Wish 3 soundtrack, released in 1985. Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. Various other projects soon followed such as The Firm, with Paul Rodgers, session work for Graham Nash, Box of Frogs, and Robert Plant, a solo album Outrider, a collaboration with David Coverdale in Coverdale Page, and a live album with The Black Crowes. They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. In 1984, Page recorded with Plant in the guise of The Honeydrippers.

Local cults of the Muses were often associated with springs or fountains. Page then linked up with Roy Harper for an album and tour. 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. Page made a successful return to stage with the ARMS Charity series of concerts in 1983 which honoured Small Faces bass player Ronnie Lane. And Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:. After Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980, Page attempted to form a supergroup with ex-Yes members to be called XYZ however it came to naught. .. As a result their final studio album (In Through the Out Door) was more heavily influenced by bassist John Paul Jones and singer Robert Plant.

Two classic examples: Homer, Book I of The Odyssey:. Page and drummer John Bonham would frequently be absent from the recording studio in the band's later years, showing up after songs were already written. Originally the invocation of the Muse was an indication that the speaker was working inside the poetic tradition, according to the established formulae. This habit would severely affect his later performances with Led Zeppelin, which were often hit-and-miss. They have served as aid to an author, or as the true speaker for which an author is only a mouthpiece. In 1976 Page started using heroin. The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or story. His guitar solo in the famous rock song "Stairway to Heaven" was voted by readers of Guitar World Magazine as the greatest guitar solo of all time.

They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest. Page also put to use his bowed playing technique he developed during his session days, and experimented with feedback devices and a theremin. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried them. His landmark guitar solo from the song "Heartbreaker" (Led Zeppelin II) has been credited by Eddie Van Halen as the inspiration for Van Halen's trademark 2-hand tapping technique. The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. His use of distorted fuzz guitar ("Whole Lotta Love"), slide guitar ("You Shook Me", "In My Time of Dying"), pedal steel guitar ("Your Time is Gonna Come", "Tangerine"), eastern scales ("Black Mountain Side", "Kashmir"), acoustic guitar ("Gallows Pole", "Bron-Yr-Aur") and recording techniques made Led Zeppelin a prototype for all future rock bands. 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. As a producer, composer and guitarist for the band, he was one of the major driving forces behind the rock sound of that era, with his trademark Gibson Les Paul guitar and Marshall amplification.

For poet and lawgiver Solon (fragment 13), the Muses were the key to the good life, since they brought both prosperity and friendship. Page's past experiences both in the studio and with The Yardbirds was critical in the success of Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, named each one of the nine books of his Histories after a different Muse. After a handful of shows on their first tour, The New Yardbirds renamed themselves Led Zeppelin. 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). Despite the departure of Keith Relf and Jim McCarty in 1968, Page wished to continue the group with a new line-up. The Muses were therefore both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike, whence "music", was the art of the Muses. The musical potential of the line-up however was scuttled by interpersonal conflicts caused by constant touring and a lack of commercial success.

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". Within weeks Page was again offered to join The Yardbirds and at first played bass guitar with the group after the departure of Paul Samwell-Smith, before finally switching to twin lead guitar with Beck when Chris Dreja moved to bass. In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to sing a song". On May 16, 1966, drummer Keith Moon, bass player John Paul Jones, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, Jeff Beck and Page recorded "Beck's Bolero" in London's IBC Studios. The experience gave Page an idea to form a band with John Entwistle on bass (instead of Jones), however the lack of a quality vocalist and contractual problems sent the project down like a "lead zeppelin". Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "song" or "poem". After being invited to replace Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds on March 20, 1965, Page turned down the offer and instead suggested his friend Jeff Beck. 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. It is estimated that Jimmy Page appeared on 60% of rock music recorded in England between 1963 and 1966.

However, the association of specific muses with specific art forms is a later innovation, and has been called pedantic. Page also formed a brief songwriting partnership with then girlfriend, Jackie DeShannon. Together, they form a complete picture of the subjects proper to poetic art in the archaic period. In 1965 Page was hired by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to act as house producer for the newly formed Immediate Records label, which also allowed him to play on tracks by John Mayall, Nico, and Eric Clapton. The canonical nine Muses are:. Under the auspices of producer Shel Talmy, Page recorded The Kinks "You Really Got Me" (1964) (although there is a dispute on whether Page or Dave Davies played lead), the guitar part on Them's "Baby Please Don’t Go" (1965), and recorded a lead guitar part on The Who's first single "I Can't Explain", although there is disagreement over whether or not it was used. Together, they form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice. His studio output in 1963 included Brian Poole & The Tremeloes' "Twist and Shout", Heinz's "Just Like Eddie" and in 1964, The Rolling Stones "Heart of Stone", Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By", The Nashville Teens' "Tobacco Road", Dave Berry's "The Crying Game", and Lulu's hit "Shout".

9.29.1). After brief stints with the band Micky Finn, and Carter Lewis and The Southerners, Page committed himself to full-time session work. According to Pausanias there were three original Muses: Aoide ("song", "voice"), Melete ("practice" or "occasion") and Mneme ("memory") (Paus. His first session for the label was the recording "Diamonds" by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan which went to Number 1 on the singles chart in 1963. Compare the Roman inspiring nymphs of springs, the Camenae. It wasn't until an offer from Mike Leander from Decca Records that Page was to receive regular studio work. For Alcman and Mimnermus, they were even more primordial, springing from Uranus and Gaia. He was spotted one night by John Gibb of The Silhouettes, who asked him to help record a number of singles for EMI, "The Worrying Kind" and "Bald Headed Woman".

According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. While still a student, Page would often jam on stage at the Marquee with bands such as the Cyril Davis All Stars, Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and with guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes.. Living from out of the back of a van and intermittent wages however, led Page to take up a totally different focus in painting at Sutton Art College in Surrey. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris. Page was then asked by Neil Christian to join his band, The Crusaders, which gave him his first taste of touring life and an appearance on a November 1962 single, "The Road to Love". 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. After graduating from school with an initial aim to work as a lab assistant, Page’s love of the guitar saw him switch to playing for Beat poet Royston Ellis before joining his first band, Red E Lewis and The Red Caps.

Urania (astronomy). At the age of 14, Page appeared on ITV's Search For Stars talent quest programme. Thalia (comedy). King. Terpsichore (dancing). Page's musical tastes however also encompassed acoustic folk playing particularly that of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the blues sounds of Elmore James and B.B. Polyhymnia (sacred poetry). The Presley song "Baby Let's Play House" was an early favourite on his first electric guitar, a second hand 1949 Gibson.

Melpomene (tragedy). His early influences were rockabilly guitarists Scotty Moore and James Burton, who both played on recordings made by Elvis Presley, and Johnny Day who played guitar for The Everly Brothers. Erato (lyric poetry). Jimmy Page began learning guitar when he was 12. Clio (history). His father was an industrial personnel manager and his mother a doctor's secretary. Calliope (epic poetry). Page was born in the north London suburb of Heston in Middlesex.

Euterpe (music).
. He was the founding member for the band Led Zeppelin and, prior to that, a member of The Yardbirds from late 1966 through 1968. James Patrick Page, known as Jimmy Page, (born January 9, 1944) is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in rock and roll.

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