Apuleius, Metamorphoses VI.24.3:
scaena sibi sic concinnata ut Musae quidem chorum canerent, tibias inflaret Saturus, et Paniscus ad fistulam diceret.
This is from the Loeb edition, which translates it as follows:
"She had arranged the stage so that the Muses were singing in chorus, a Satyr blew the flute, and a Paniscus played on the reed-pipes."
Now, I have never seen dicere used to mean "play [an instrument]". Is this common? Or just extremely rare? Or an error by the Loeb edition?
Here is the Cambridge edition:
scaena sibi sic concinnata ut Musae quidem chorum canerent aut tibias inflaret, Saturus et Paniscus ad fistulam dicerent.
It translates the text as follows:
"...while a Satyr and a little Pan sang to the shepherd's pipe."
I must say this translation is much closer to what I would expect; at least Lewis & Short have dicere "to sing":
- To describe, relate, sing, celebrate in writing (mostly poet.):
"tibi dicere laudes", Tib. 1, 3, 31;
so, "laudes Phoebi et Dianae", Hor. C. S. 76:
"Dianam, Cynthium, Latonam", id. C. 1, 21, 1:
"Alciden puerosque Ledae", id. ib. 1, 12, 25:
"caelestes, pugilemve equumve", id. ib. 4, 2, 19:
"Pelidae stomachum", id. ib. 1, 6, 5:
"bella", id. Ep. 1, 16, 26; Liv. 7, 29:
"carmen", Hor. C. 1, 32, 3; id. C. S. 8; Tib. 2, 1, 54:
"modos", Hor. C. 3, 11, 7:
"silvestrium naturas", Plin. 15, 30, 40, 138 et saep.:
"temporibus Augusti dicendis non defuere decora ingenia", Tac. A. 1, 1; id. H. 1, 1:
"vir neque silendus neque dicendus sine cura", Vell. 2, 13.—
And the Cambridge has a different Latin text, which I cannot judge, but which allows this translation, contrary to the Loeb's Latin.
At any rate, even the "sing" from the Cambridge seems different from the usage in L&S to me. For each of those quotations has a theme, i.e. a complement with an 'object-like' meaning, such as a direct object or an noun that agrees with the gerundive of dicere. So I read the L&S definition as "to sing [something] in writing", which I would understand as "to write about something in verse". That hardly fits the Cambridge translation "[they] sang to the shepherd's pipe", which strongly suggests oral singing, and without a theme.
How would you feel about a translation "they recited to the shephard's pipe"? Or is that too literal and simple-minded of me? I can imagine the Ancients' reciting to a musical instrument, although I'm not entirely sure whether I remember correctly that they did this (think of recitals like those in the Matthäus-Passion).