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Muse

Muse

Rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

The British rock group Muse has garnered both critical and popular success since their explosive entrance onto the musical scene in the late 1990s. Fronted by Matthew Bellamy, the trio also includes Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard. Frequently compared to the emotional and angst-ridden work of Radiohead, Muses debut album Showbiz was produced by John Leckie, who also produced Radioheads The Bends. While early reviewers noted the obvious comparison to Radiohead, Muse has emerged as a powerful band in its own right, gaining recognition for their outrageous live performances that mix dynamic showmanship and lyric bravado.

The group formed in the early 1990s in the small southern coastal town of Teignmouth, England. In response to the safe, if boring and limited life of their small town, the trio first came together when they were 13 years old, playing indie cover tunes under the name Gothic Plague. They later renamed themselves Fixed Penalty, and then Rocket Baby Dolls. The band turned to American music in response to the Britpop movement that left them flat. Their devotion to such bands as Primus, the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and Radiohead inspired their own developing sound.

When the band members were 15 they entered a local battle of the bands contest intending to shock their audience with over-the-top makeup and gear-smashing antics onstage. The real shock came, however, when the band, then known as Rocket Baby Dolls, won the contest, which motivated the band members to take their work more seriously. Bellamy admits that at the time the other bands were much tighter musically, but it was their passionate attitude in performance that made a difference.

In 1997 Bellamy settled on the name Muse after hearing a medium say, as he recalled in a biography on the Mushroom Records website, that you could summon up muses when you were at a very spiritual point in your life. And well, I suppose I summoned up this band. It was at this point that the band adopted a higher level of focus. Drummer Dominic Howard stated in an ARTISTdirect biography, Music became more than just a way out. It became a passion and a way for us to express ourselves.

The group released two EPs on Dangerous Records in the late 1990s, Muse and Muscle Museum. It was their pumped-up performance at the CMJ Music Festival in 1998 in New York City, however, that propelled them to the attention of executives from Madonnas Maverick label. Muse was signed in 1998 with Leckie as producer, and they began a fruitful collaboration in which the band learned to recreate the frenzied work of their live performances in the studio. According to Adrianne Stone of Rolling Stone, Leckie also encouraged the band to experiment with Wurlitzers and Mellotrons when recording. Chris Wolstenholme told Stone,

For the Record

Members include Matthew Bellamy (born in Cambridge, England), guitar, vocals, piano; Dominic Howard (born in Rotherham, England), drums; Chris Wolstenholme (born in Manchester, England), bass guitar.

Group formed in Teignmouth, Devon, England, as Gothic Plague, early 1990s; changed name to Fixed Penalty, Rocket Baby Dolls, and finally Muse, 1997; released debut EP Muse on Dangerous Records, 1998; released second EP, Muscle Museum, on Dangerous, 1999; appeared in New York City at CMJ Music Festival, 1998; signed with Maverick Records, 1998; released Showbiz, 1999; toured with Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2000; released Origin of Symmetry, 2001; released the soundtrack Hullabaloo, 2002.

Awards: New Musical Express (NME) Carling Premier Award, Best New Band, 2000; Kerrang! Award, Best British Live Act, 2002.

Addresses: Record company Mushroom Records, 1 Shorrolds Rd., London SW6 7TR, England. Website-Muse Official Website: http://www.muse-official.com.

[Leckie] taught us the importance of getting a really good live performance sound in the studio. When you go into the studio, you dont have 10,000 watts of P.A. blasting in your face. Youre playing into a dead room. So youve got to put the energy in there somehow and being able to fiddle around with things makes the difference. Shortly after signing with Maverick, Muse also inked deals with European labels, including Motor in Germany, Naïve in France, and Mushroom Records in the United Kingdom.

With the release of Showbiz, Muse achieved word-of-mouth worldwide recognition resulting mainly from their visceral live performances. Their debut album attracted the attention of both fans and critics, with few middle-of-the-road responses. Nearly every critic drew comparisons to Radiohead, most of them favorably. Sean Price wrote in Melody Maker, [Muse] will genuinely move you. They will make you feel almost uncomfortable when exposed to the naked emotion and raw sincerity that pumps through the 80 or so songs theyve already stockpiled. Another reviewer noted in College Media, While its impossible to refute that comparison [to Radiohead], its tough to resist Showbiz, on which Muse builds its own brooding foundation to support its soaring, scorched passions and dark emotional subtexts.

Although some critics merely found the over-the-top bombastic output laughable, there was no denying that the band connected with its audience. Reviewing a live performance, Stephen Dalton wrote in the Times, The savage energy of their delivery, squeezing operatic hyperbole and hormone-crazed passion into three-minute rock symphonies, clearly connected on some primal level with the teens and early twentysomethings who danced and screamed along to every other song. Already wildly popular in Europe, especially France, the bands international appeal increased after they toured the United States with Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2000.

If response to their first album bordered on love it or hate it, reaction to their second album, Origin of Symmetry, was even more polarized. Many noted the bands effort to come out from under the shadow of Radiohead, yet compared songs on the second album to the operatic quality of 1970s rockers Queen. One reviewer quipped that there is a similarity between Bellamys onstage solo excesses to that of Nigel Tufnell in This Is Spinal Tap. On the other hand, unabashedly endorsing the band, a review by James Malone of the Wheres the Craic music website gushed, [Origin of Symmetry is] fresh, creative, operatic, passionate, innovative and da** f***ing loud. As you can see we love it and make no apologies for it.

The classical quality of their music derived from the influences of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, whom Bellamy referenced in an article about the bands tour to Russia. In response to comparisons to Queen, Bellamy maintained, The things we have in common with Queen are the things Im really proud of. We have a big sound, and were not afraid to put on a show.

Following the prolific output of their early career, Muse showed no signs of slowing down. In 2002 they released the DVD soundtrack Hullabaloo, including 18 live songs from their show at the Paris Zenith as well as documentary footage of the band on tour. Just as the band was sliding into a heavy rock groove, they were ready to switch gears again. When he spoke with New Musical Express (NME), Bellamy maintained that their upcoming album contains some uplifting songs, remarking, The stuff were going to do on this album is going to surprise a lot of people. Weve been writing loads of songs. A lot of the new songs are going in a different direction to what weve done before.

Selected discography

Muse (EP), Dangerous, 1998.

Muscle Museum (EP), Dangerous, 1999.

Showbiz, Mushroom, 1999.

Origin of Symmetry, Mushroom, 2001.

Hullabaloo (soundtrack), Mushroom, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Boston Phoenix, October 18, 1999.

CMJ New Music Report, September 28, 1999.

Evening Standard (London, England), November 7, 2001, p. 28,

Evening Times (Glasgow, Scotland), May 24, 2001, p. 29.

Guardian (London, England), April 9, 2001, p. 16; June 14, 2002, p. 29.

Melody Maker, June 26, 1999.

NME (London, England), February 2, 2000; April 4, 2002; April 9, 2002.

Rolling Stone, September 29, 1999; October 1, 1999; October 14, 1999.

Select Magazine, November 1999.

Spin, September 28, 1999.

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), November 11, 2001, p. 24.

TDB Magazine, June 1999.

Times (London, England), April 20, 2001, p. 11; November 20, 2001, p. 20.

Online

Muse, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (September 3, 2002).

Muse, Mushroom Records, http://www.mushroomuk.com ber 3, 2002).

Muse, NME, http://www.nme.com/artists/biography/172196.htm (September 29, 2002).

Muse, Wheres the Craic, http://www.wheresthecraic.com/soundroom/albums/muse.htm (September 10, 2002).

Muse Biography, ARTISTdirect, http://www.artistdirect.com/soundroom/albums/muse.htm (September 12, 2002).

Muse Official Website, http://www.muse-official.com (September 24, 2002).

Muse: Showbiz, AV Guide, http://www.avguide.com (September 12, 2002).

Elizabeth Henry

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Muses

Muses

In Greek mythology, the Muses were sister goddesses of music, poetry, and other artistic and intellectual pursuits. Poets and other artists often called on them for inspiration. Zeus, the king of the gods, was the father of the Muses. Their mother was Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. In his role as god of music, poetry, and dance, Apollo* was sometimes said to be their leader. The Muses also figured in Roman mythology, although the Romans sometimes referred to them as the Camenae.

The Muses lived on two sacred Greek mountain peaks, Olympus* and Helicon. Originally they were threeMelete (Practice), Mneme (Memory), and Aoede (Song)but the Greek poet Hesiod named nine Muses in his Theogony (History of the Gods). Ancient writers, particularly the Romans, often linked individual Muses with specific arts and sciences, but they did not agree on the functions of particular Muses. One widely reconized list identified Calliope as the Muse of heroic and epic poetry and associated Erato with lyric and love poetry, Polyhymnia with sacred songs and mime, Melpomene with tragedy, Thalia with comedy, Euterpe with music played on instruments, Terpsichore with dancing, Clio with history, and Urania with astronomy.

In myths, the Muses often punished or rewarded mortals. Hesiod claimed that they gave him knowledge and inspired him. The Odyssey] tells of Demodocus, a man who was blinded and then given the gift of song by one of the Muses. She claimed that song was even more precious than sight. Although the Muses could be generous, they resented mortals who questioned their supremacy in the arts. The Iliad* mentions Thamyris, a poet who challenged the Muses. They made him blind and took away his ability to sing. Another myth tells of the Pierides, nine sisters who lived in Macedonia, north of Greece. The Pierides challenged the Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned their challengers into chattering birds. Some of the Muses had famous offspring. Calliope was the mother of the great musician Orpheus*, and Clio was the mother of the beautiful Hyacinthus.

epic long poem about legendary or historical heroes, written in a grand style

The word museum comes from the Muses. It means "place of the Muses" and was first used for the Museum of ancient Alexandria, Egypt, a center of scholarship and learning.

See also Apollo; Calliope; Greek Mythology.

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Muses

Muses, in Greek religion and mythology, patron goddesses of the arts, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Originally only three, they were later considered as nine. Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence; Euterpe, of music or of lyric poetry; Erato, of the poetry of love; Polyhymnia (or Polymnia), of oratory or sacred poetry; Clio, of history; Melpomene, of tragedy; Thalia, of comedy; Terpsichore, of choral song and dance; Urania, of astronomy. Some say that Apollo was their leader. Early places of their worship were the district of Pieria, in Thessaly, where they were often called Pierides, and Mt. Helicon, in Boeotia. The springs of Castalia, Aganippe, and Hippocrene were sacred to them.

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muses

muses In classical mythology, nine daughters of the Titan Mnemosyne (memory) and Zeus. Calliope was the muse of epic poetry, Clio of history, Erato of love poetry, Euterpe of lyric poetry, Polyhymnia of song, Melpomene of tragedy, Terpsichore of dance, Thalia of comedy, and Urania of astronomy.

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Muses

MUSES

MUSES . Near the highest peak of snowy Olympus, the nine MusesClio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Ourania, and Calliope, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory)were born to be, in Hesiod's words, "the forgetting of misfortunes and respite from sorrow" (Theogony 55). Like-minded virgins, free from grief, their only concern is song. Always accompanied by the Graces and Desire, they dance in chorus on delicate feet on the mountaintops, bathe in springs with violet glints, and make their way to the radiant abodes of Zeus, which laugh under the spell of their sweet voices (Theogony 1ff.).

What the Muses sing is mnēmosunē memory of what is, what was, and what will be. And for the Greeks, memory is truth. The subject of their song is the kingdom of Zeus the father, he who subdued the Titans, who restored his brothers' power and imposed a harsh fate on their father Kronos, and who bestowed honors on all the gods. The Muses sing the victory of the cosmos, of harmony over chaos, and their sweet accents make Zeus's enemies tremble in the depths of the earth (Theogony 68ff.; Pindar, Pythia 1.13). They also sing the miserable fate of mortals, who live in bewilderment, unable to find a cure for death or a remedy for old age (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 190ff.).

With Apollo, the Muses select and inspire the men they cherish. These are the lyre players and singers, and they, too, are able to make sorrow and grief disappear from mortal hearts with the sweet strains that flow from their lips. Thus when poets sing to Apollo and the Muses at the beginning of their songs, they put themselves under divine protection and make an offering at the same time. Invoking the Muses is the price the poet pays in order for his song to be called veracious and in order that he may breathe the imperishable memory and knowledge that the Muses alone bestow. Those who disdain this inspiration and pride themselves on being capable of creating and fashioning their songs without the Muses are punished; they are made to sing untruths and soon become mute, like the poet Thamyris (Iliad 2.594ff.).

Each of the nine Muses presides over one of the arts. According to one scheme, Clio is linked with history, Euterpe with music, Thalia with comedy, Melpomene with tragedy, Terpsichore with dance, Erato with elegy, Polyhymnia with lyric poetry, Ourania with astronomy, and Calliope with eloquence. Only Calliope, first among the Muses, has a role in the courts of kings (Theogony 80ff.); it is she who gives them wisdom and mellow voices. If the political initiation resembles poetic initiation, the music that Calliope teaches kings can in no case be confused with that of the poet. The Muse inspires kings with the knowledge of the kingdom of Zeus, so that the divine cosmos may be recreated among men.

The spirit that emanates from the Muses is the springlike freshness that allows mortals to derive some fortune from divine nature and to forget death. That may be why the Muses warn poets that they know how to sing untruth just as well as truth.

Bibliography

Boyancé, Pierre. Le culte des Muses chez les philosophes grecs. Paris, 1937.

Pearson, A. C. "Muses." In Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, vol. 9. Edinburgh, 1917.

Svenbro, Jesper. La parole et le marbre: Aux origines de la poétique grecque. Lund, 1976.

New Sources

Bing, Peter. The Well-Read Muse: Present and Past in Callimachus and the Hellenistic Poets. Göttingen, 1988.

Camilloni, Maria Teresa. Le Muse. Rome, 1998.

Jeannie Carlier (1987)

Silvia Milanezi (1987)

Translated from French by Alice Otis
Revised Bibliography

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Muses

Muses

Nationality/Culture

Greek

Pronunciation

MYOO-siz

Alternate Names

Camenae (Roman)

Appears In

Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad

Lineage

Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne

Character Overview

In Greek mythology , the Muses were sister goddesses of music, dance, poetry, and other artistic and intellectual pursuits. Poets and other artists often called on them for inspiration. Zeus (pronounced ZOOS), the king of the gods, was the father of the Muses. Their mother was Mnemosyne (pronounced nee-MOSS-uh-nee), goddess of memory. In his role as god of music, poetry, and dance, Apollo (pronounced uh-POL-oh) was sometimes said to be their leader. The Muses also figured in Roman mythology , although the Romans usually associated them with the four goddesses known as the Camenae (pronounced kuh-MEE-nee).

Major Myths

The Muses lived on two sacred Greek mountain peaks, Olympus (pronounced oh-LIM-puhs) and Helicon (pronounced HEL-i-kon). Originally they were three in number—Melete (pronounced MEL-i-tee, meaning Practice), Mneme (pronounced NEE-mee, meaning Memory), and Aoede (pronounced ay-EE-dee, meaning Song)—but the Greek poet Hesiod named nine Muses in his Theogony {Birth of the Gods). Ancient writers, particularly the Romans, often linked individual Muses with specific arts and sciences, but they did not agree on the functions of particular Muses. One widely recognized list identified Calliope (pronounced kuh-LYE-uh-pee) with heroic and epic poetry, Erato (pronounced AIR-uh-toh) with lyric and love poetry, Polyhymnia (pronounced pol-ee-HIM-nee-uh) with sacred songs and pantomime, Melpomene (pronounced mel-POM-uh-nee) with tragedy, Thalia (pronounced thuh-LYE-uh) with comedy, Euterpe (pronounced yoo-TUR-pee) with music played on instruments, Terpsichore (pronounced turp-SIK-uh-ree) with dancing, Clio (pronounced KLEE-oh) with history, and Urania (pronounced yoo-RAY-nee-uh) with astronomy. In myths, the Muses often punished or rewarded mortals. Hesiod claimed that they gave him knowledge and inspired him. The Odyssey tells of Demodocus (pronounced dee-MOH-duh-kuhs), a man who was blinded and then given the gift of song by one of the Muses, who claimed that song was even more precious than sight. Although the Muses could be generous, they resented mortals who questioned their supremacy in the arts. The Iliad mentions Thamyris (pronounced THAH-mi-ruhs), a poet who challenged the Muses. They made him blind and took away his ability to sing. Another myth tells of the Pierides (pronounced pye-AIR-uh-deez), nine sisters who lived in Macedonia (pronounced mas-uh-DOHN-ee-uh), north of Greece. The Pierides challenged the Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned their challengers into chattering birds. Some of the Muses had famous offspring. Calliope, for example, was the mother of the great musician Orpheus (pronounced OR-fee-uhs), and Clio was the mother of the beautiful Hyacinthus (pronounced high-uh-SIN-thuhs).

The Muses in Context

Poets in ancient Greece often expressed the idea that the Muses were responsible for the works that the poets had created. This may have served a specific purpose: it informed readers and listeners that the work fit within established traditional formats. At one time, for example, all traditional books—regardless of subject matter—were written with a poetic structure. Crediting the Muses as the originators of a work also reflected how ancient Greeks viewed their cultural knowledge as something that did not belong solely to the person writing it down or saying it, but to all Greeks. In addition, this may have indicated that a work was derived from a historical source, passed down from other poets or storytellers.

Key Themes and Symbols

The Muses represent creativity and the arts, with each one representing a different aspect of these things. One of the main themes of the stories of the Muses is divine inspiration—the idea that artists somehow receive their ideas, insights, and talents from a source greater than themselves. This is illustrated when others challenge the Muses to a contest of skills; since the Muses are the source of all great art, they always defeat their challengers.

The Muses in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life

The Muses appear frequently in ancient art and poetry, often in acknowledgement for helping to create the work itself. The Muses have been painted by artists such as Gustave Moreau and Johannes Vermeer. They have been called upon by writers from Homer and Virgil to William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer. The Muses have also appeared several times in movies. The 1980 musical film Xanadu features Olivia Newton-John as Terpsichore, a Muse who enters the modern world and falls in love with a commercial artist, played by Michael Beck. In the 1999 Albert Brooks film The Muse, Sharon Stone plays a woman named Sarah who may or may not be an actual Muse from Greek mythology. Three of the Muses also appear as narrating characters in the 1997 animated Disney film Hercules.

The word museum is taken from the Muses. It means “place of the Muses” and was first used for the museum of ancient Alexandria, Egypt, a center of scholarship and learning. The word “music” is also taken from these goddesses, and means “art of the Muses.” Interestingly, the Greek word for Muse may come from an older Indo-European word meaning “to think,” and even today to “muse” over something means to think deeply about it, or to meditate upon it.

Read, Write, Think, Discuss

Myths of the Muses are linked to ideas about inspiration and creativity in the arts and sciences, and place great importance upon the mind and thought processes. What do the myths of the Muses tell us about the way the ancient Greeks thought about the arts and sciences? Did they divide the arts and sciences into categories, such as emotional versus rational, like many Western cultures do? Using your library, the Internet, or other available resources, trace the development of one subject, such as history or astronomy, to identify its origins and learn how opinions about it have changed over the centuries. What were some of the social and cultural factors that may have influenced the changes?

SEE ALSO Apollo; Greek Mythology

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