Music of the Sirens
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Indiana University Press
Download PDF (52.1 KB)
Download PDF (22.9 KB)
The Editors wish to thank all of the following, without whom this book would not have been possible: Megan Guenther and Stephen Houbeck for assisting tirelessly and cheerfully with preparation of the ﬁnal version of the manuscript on top of their own teaching and graduate study; our husbands, James Borland and Anthony Elmendorf, for offering continual...
Introduction: Singing Each to Each
Download PDF (184.9 KB)
The siren and her sisters are the most elusive and paradoxical of all creatures. Neither ﬁsh, fowl, nor long-tressed mammal, they are impossible combinations of any of these, or none at all. Most often female, they may sometimes be male. Mortal or eternal, they may deliver death or bestow the kiss of everlasting life. They haunt the forests of Russia and the mountains...
1. Sirens in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Download PDF (854.6 KB)
The ﬁrst and still most famous manifestation of the Sirens in Greek literature is in the twelfth book of the Odyssey.1 In lines 39–54, Circe warns Odysseus at his departure...
2. ‘‘Teach Me to Heare Mermaides Singing’’: Embodiments of (Acoustic) Pleasure and Danger in the Modern West
Download PDF (1.3 MB)
Elizabeth Scarborough’s charming fantasy novel of 1982, Song of Sorcery, offers a brief encounter with thousands of years of Western siren-lore, brought together with a light, comedic touch. The fabled creature enters the work and the reader’s consciousness as softly as she strokes the sailors’ ears: a hypnotic thing of mist and memory, with no more substance than ...
3. Devils, Daydreams, and Desire: Siren Traditions and Musical Creation in the Central-Southern Andes
Download PDF (725.8 KB)
The high Andes, especially southern Peru, Bolivia, and northern Chile,are home to an immensely rich and diverse range of traditions concerning dangerous siren-type beings associated with musical enchantment and creativity.1 These beings are typically said to reside in waterfalls, springs,lakes, rivers, or rocks, and they are widely referred to by Quechua and...
4. ‘‘Sweet aluring harmony’’: Heavenly and Earthly Sirens in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Literary and Visual Culture
Download PDF (742.7 KB)
Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century love-poetry includes many references to music and, in particular, the praise of a lady’s accomplishments often including her skills in singing or playing a musical instrument.1 Poems exclusively dedicated to or describing female musicians tend to take one of two directions: the effects of music are either ennobling, elevating...
5. The Sirens, the Epicurean Boat, and the Poetry of Praise
Download PDF (214.8 KB)
Poets in early modern England were keenly aware of their precarious and potentially dangerous place in the cultural and political economy of their times. Such concern was not always defensive, voiced in reaction to criticism from early Puritans (such as Stephen Gosson in his Schoole of Abuse),among others. Poets themselves regularly confronted and explored the...
6. ‘‘Longindyingcall’’: Of Music, Modernity, and the Sirens
Download PDF (286.5 KB)
—bewitching fatal singers, the nixies and naiads, the Lorelei and (combers of combers and of hair in waves) the mermaids singing each to each, all the undulant forms of femininity calling from across the spray or under the wave, of the Rhinemaidens and the fair Melusine and Undine, the aspiring little mermaid of Hans Christian Andersen and the down-drifting...
7. Russian Rusalkas and Nationalism: Water, Power, and Women
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
The Russian rusalka—a cousin of sirens, lorelei, naiads, undines, andmermaids—is speciﬁc to Russia’s history and culture.1 There are two siren-like creatures in Russia, the terrestrial woman-bird sirin,2 and the water-inhabiting rusalka. Carved at the base of columns on St. Basil’s Bridge near the St. Petersburg Admiralty and leading sailors seaward from the prows...
8. Rheinsirenen: Loreley and Other Rhine Maidens
Download PDF (500.7 KB)
In the ﬁlm Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, young Henry Spofford III spots Lorelei Lee stuck in a porthole as she is trying to escape from private detective Malone’s cabin. He explains why he is helping her: ‘‘The ﬁrst reason is, I’m too young to be sent to jail. The second reason is, you’ve got a lot of animal magnetism.’’1 Throughout the ﬁlm, blonde and beautiful...
9. The Mermaid of the Meyhane:The Legend of a Greek Singer in a Turkish Tavern
Download PDF (258.3 KB)
This article concerns a Greek living in Turkey during the early republican period (1923–1938).1 In particular, it concerns the story of a Greek singer (called ‘‘the Mermaid’’), who performed in a Turkish tavern (meyhane) during a tumultuous moment in Turkish history.2 By manipulating the legend of the mermaid (deniz kızı) for strategic effect, the vocalist was able...
10. Siren Serenades: Music for Mami Wata and Other Water Spirits in Africa
Download PDF (385.6 KB)
Mami Wata’’ (pidgin English for ‘‘Mother Water’’ or ‘‘Mistress Water,’’sometimes rendered as ‘‘Mammy Water’’) is the name for a beautiful,seductive water spirit worshipped widely in Africa. Often depicted as a mermaid, Mami Wata brings enormous wealth and good fortune to those she favors and poverty, impotence, insanity, or death to those she does not....
11. The Navel, the Corporate, the Contradictory: Pop Sirens at the Twenty-first Century
Download PDF (354.0 KB)
Women have always held a tenuous position within the western world’s sphere for ‘‘professional musician.’’ Any level of accomplishment above polite amateur has been deemed deviant because it seems too sexually enticing (‘‘she’’ luring ‘‘he’’), and paradoxically at the same time it is seen...
12. The Cocktail Siren in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet
Download PDF (265.0 KB)
As this collection testiﬁes, sirens have been a timeless and cross-cultural fantasy, incarnated and reincarnated in mythology, folklore, literary genres, visual arts, and music. Cinema is not an exception. As a deadly seductress and an embodiment of subversive sexuality, the cinematic siren has appeared in various embodiments, ranging from the vamp of Scandinavian...
Download PDF (418.8 KB)
list of contributors
Download PDF (65.2 KB)
Download PDF (143.1 KB)
Page Count: 440
Illustrations: 38 b&w photos, 2 maps, 1 index
Publication Year: 2006