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Music  &  Mus

     THE MOUSAI  (Muses)

were the demi-goddesses of music, song and dance, and the source of inspiration to poets. They were also goddesses of knowledge, who remembered all things that had come to pass. Later the Mousai were assigned specific artistic spheres: Kalliope, epic poetry; Kleio, history; Ourania, astronomy; Thaleia, comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Polyhymnia, religious hymns; Erato, erotic poetry; Euterpe, lyric poetry; and Terpsikhore, choral song and dance.
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      Muse ~~ Greek Mousa or Moisa, Latin Musa,  in Greco-Roman
religion and mythology, any of a group of sister goddesses of obscure but ancient origin, the chief centre of whose cult was Mount Helicon in Boeotia, Greece. They were born in Pieria, at the foot of Mount Olympus. Very little is known of their cult, but they had a festival every four years at Thespiae, near Helicon, and a contest (Museia), presumably—or at least at first—in singing and playing. They probably were originally the patron goddesses of poets (who in early times were also musicians, providing their own accompaniments), although later their range was extended to include all liberal arts and sciences—hence, their connection with such institutions as the Museum (Mouseion, seat of the Muses) at Alexandria, Egypt. There were nine Muses as early as Homer’s Odyssey, and Homer invokes either a Muse or the Muses collectively from time to time. Probably, to begin with, the Muses were one of those vague collections of deities, undifferentiated within the group, which are characteristic of certain, probably early, strata of Greek religion.
               from Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc.    [ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/398735/Muse ]

    About the Muse's Instrument  ~~
Pictured in the muse's arms is a kithara, an ancient Greek ancestor of the harp in its many forms and guises throughout history and multiple cultures.  Also called cithara, cither, cittern, etc., it is in essence a lyre, a term closely associated with the lyrics that would have been sung or recited to its accompaniment.  Derivative cognates of kithara would include the Spanish 'gittara', whence the guitar.
             from Random House Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language:
"A musical instrument of ancient Greece consisting of an elaborate wooden soundbox having two arms connected by a yoke to which the upper ends of the strings are attached."


                 Extracted and collated from multiple Internet sources, including:


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