Study Guide

Orpheus - Band, Chorus, and Dance Kids

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Band, Chorus, and Dance Kids

These kids are all about music and dancing. They're either playing instruments in the parking lot after school, singing loudly in the hallway between classes, or breaking it down in the lunchroom. They've got a need to express themselves, and nothing makes them happier than when everyone joins in. Come on, Shmoopers—join in!


The Sirens are definitely the bad-girls of this popular clique. Most of the other members are all about using music to inspire joy and inspiration in those around them. The Sirens, on the other hand, like to use music to cause death and destruction by luring sailors to their deaths on jagged rocks. Hmmm, not as awesome. And as we know, Orpheus and the Sirens did not get along one bit.


Orpheus' brother was a musician, too. Actually, he was said to have been one of Orpheus' first music teachers. Well done, big bro. Linus was also the musical tutor of young Heracles, but that ended up being the job that killed him. Unfortunately for Linus, Heracles had an awful temper even when he was a kid: he cracked him on the head with Linus' own lyre after Linus corrected him. Ouch.


Apollo was the god of music itself and was said to be a master of the lyre. Some say that he actually taught Orpheus to play the instrument while the boy was growing up on Mt. Parnassus—that's quite a claim to fame (for both of them!). Apollo might even have been Orpheus's father. Makes sense to us.


This famous messenger of the gods may not have been the god of music, but he did invent the lyre. Some say that if Hermes invented the lyre, Orpheus perfected it. And we're pretty sure Orpheus sent him a fruit basket to thank him—without the lyre, Orpheus wouldn't be who he is.

The Muses

It's said that Orpheus grew up on Mt. Parnassus with these lovely goddesses who were the inspiration of all of the arts. Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, was Orpheus' mother, so it's no wonder he came out as talented as he did.


This early Egyptian goddess is all about music and dancing. She's closely associated with the sistrum, a rattle-like instrument that's perfect for when you want to shake your booty like it's nobody's business. Hathor was usually seen breaking it down with her son, Ihy. The Greeks generally associated Hathor and Ihy with Aphrodite and Eros.


This lady is a Mesopotamian goddess of music who did a lot of mournful wailing with the goddess Ishtar when she lost her love, Tamuz. Mournful wailing because of a lost love—sound familiar? That's Orpheus' story in a nutshell.


Bragi, a Norse god of poetry, was such a hardcore poet that he had letters, or runes, carved right onto his tongue. He's often shown with a massive beard and, like Orpheus, he always had a harp at his side. It's said that Bragi inspired humans by allowing them to drink from his cup of poetic mead. Some say that Bragi was originally a real live poet named Bragi Baddonson—then later poets turned him into a god.

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