syrinx

syrinx

[sir-ingks]
syrinx: see panpipes.
or syrinx

Romanian panpipe; in the Horniman Museum, London

Wind instrument consisting of pipes of different lengths made of cane (less often wood, clay, or metal) arranged in a row. It is blown across the top, each pipe producing a different note. The panpipe dates from circa 2000 BC and is found worldwide, especially in eastern Africa, South America, and Melanesia.

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In classical mythology, Syrinx (Greek Συριγξ) was a nymph and a follower of Artemis, known for her chastity. Pursued by the amorous Greek god Pan, she ran to the river's edge and asked for assistance from the river nymphs. In answer, she was transformed into hollow water reeds that made a haunting sound when the god's frustrated breath blew across them. Pan cut the reeds to fashion the first set of pan pipes, which were thence forth known as syrinx. (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.689ff) The word syringe was derived from this word.

Syrinx in art

The pre-Raphaelite artist, Arthur Hacker (September 25, 1858 – November 12, 1919), depicted Syrinx in his 1892 portrait. This painting in oil on canvas is currently on display in Manchester Art Gallery.

An animated short, produced by the National Film Board of Canada and Animated by famed artist Ryan Larkin, depicts the mythological "Syrinx" being pursued by Pan.

Syrinx in classical music

Claude Debussy wrote "Syrinx (La Flute De Pan)" based on Pan's sadness over losing his love. This piece was the first unaccompanied flute solo of the 20th century, and remains a very popular addition to the modern flutist's repertoire. It was used as incidental music in the play Psyché by Gabriel Mourey.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen composed "Pan and Syrinx" (Pan og Syrinx), Op. 49, FS 87.

French composer Yvonne Desportes composed "6 Dances pour Syrinx" - for guitar and flute.

Syrinx in popular culture

  • The Canadian rock band Rush wrote "The Temples of Syrinx", part of their twenty-minute epic track, 2112. The lyrics of this movement depict a dystopian society where the Priests of the Temples oppose music and advocate the destruction of musical instruments. Rush also makes references to computers inside "The Temples of Syrinx" in their song "2112".
  • In the song "10001110101" by Clutch, The Temples of Syrinx are said to be "having the bake sale of the year", probably referring to Rush's 2112.
  • Novelist Samuel R. Delany features an instrument called a "sensory syrinx" (a sound, scent, and hologram projector) in his science-fiction novel Nova.
  • Syrinx is the name of one of the central characters in The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton.
  • Syrinx was also the name of a Canadian band whose song 'Tillicum' was used as the theme song for the television series "Here Come The Seventies".
  • Syrinx is the name of the great metropolis in science-fiction novel "Achaja" by Andrzej Ziemiański.

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