Catharsis: A Folk Album Inspired by Greek Theatre and Mythology




Long, Ryan Scott

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Ancient Greek Mythology is one of the longest surviving collections of stories and legends still told today. Folk music is a genre of music that stems from the practice of passing down traditional songs and poems from generation to generation. Though folk has evolved and found itself with more contemporary styling, the inherent storytelling nature is still at its core. Both of these storytelling devices and concepts have always fascinated me, and I felt there to be an opportunity to create a piece of music that allows the two to intersect. So, I have written and recorded a folk album, titled “Catharsis”, that details the downfall and subsequent healing from a modern romantic relationship, as told through the lens of ancient Greek Theatre and Mythology. My composition of this album prompted a great deal of research of several of these Greek myths, allowing me to gain a greater understanding of their story and significance, so I would be able to find parallels to the modern relationship the album describes. In songs like “Athena”, that compares feeling like you’ve lost a best friend after a breakup to Athena and Ares’ conflict in the Trojan War, I dug deep into the mythical history of the war itself — why it started, how it ended, and who all participated — so I could create purposeful allusions and references to the mythical while keeping true to the modern storytelling of the folk music I was writing. On songs like “Anagnorisis”, I instead researched the theatrical concept of an anagnorisis, finding examples of it in many Greek tragedies, and applied this knowledge to the arc of my story, determining what the narrator’s “anagnorisis” in their healing process was. Overall, this process has taught me a lot about my abilities as a writer — I have long been fascinated by songwriters’ abilities to tell stories about themselves while alluding to other famous works, and had never been successful. However, upon my extensive research, I was able to build a strong foundation of knowledge of Greek myths and concepts, and applying it to the story I told became much more attainable and successful.



catharsis, Greek, theatre, folk, music, album, mythology


Long, R. S. (2023). Catharsis: A folk album inspired by Greek theatre and mythology. Honors College, Texas State University.


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