From Syrinx to panpipe

This pipe in former times was not a musical instrument, but a beautiful maiden, who had a melodious voice. She tended goats, sported with the Nymphs, and sang as now. Pan, who saw her tending her goats, sporting and singing, tried to persuade her to yield to his advances, promising that her goats should always bring forth twins. But she scoffed at his love, and declared that she would never have anything to do with a lover who was neither a goat nor a perfect man. Thereupon Pan was proceeding to violence, but Syrinx fled, until at last, weary of running, she flung herself into a swamp and disappeared amongst the reeds. Pan, enraged, cut down the reeds, and, not finding the maiden, understood what had happened. Then, cutting some reeds of unequal length, in token of an unequal love, he joined them together with wax and fashioned this instrument. Thus she who was once a beautiful maiden is now an instrument of music—the pipe.

Longus: Daphnis and Chloe, II. 34
The Athenian Society Translation


Featured image: Ernst Willem Jan Bagelaar (1798–1837): Pan en Syrinx. Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-26.442. Forrás: www.rijksmuseum.nl / Public Domain.
Video: Claude Debussy: Syrinx (1913), Emmanuel Pahud plays the flute.

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