L’orateur romain chantait-il ?

Author: Formarier, Marie
Title: L’orateur romain chantait-il ?
Review/Collection: «Synergies Espagne», 4
Year edition: 2011
Pages: 25-33
Keywords: Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics
Description: In the very beginning of his treatise Institutio Oratoria, Quintilian points out how important it is for the future orator to master music. Music was first theorised in Ancient Greece by Plato and Aristoxenus and was then transmitted in Rome. Musical principles defined melodic and rhythmic intervals, but also the « character » of each mode and rhythm and the panel of emotions this character was supposed to stir up. Thus, Latin rhetoric, like music, employed vocal intonations and rhythms so as to charm the hearers. Therefore, it was very difficult for an orator not to be a musician. In this paper, I address this fundamental paradox: how could Roman orators use the same tools as musicians and express, at the same time, their specificity? To what extent was speech different from song? According to my analysis, there was a gap between oratory theory and practice. The perfect orator must use musical tools but must not sing. In reality, speech was very close to song. This confusion often occurred in Quintilian’s times, and was probably linked to the changing status of discourse, which was then an entertainment more than a political act [Author]. Text in French.
Link: https://gerflint.fr/Base/Espagne4/formarier.pdf
Author initials: Formarier 2011