Greek music history

By | April 8, 2021

Greek music and mythology

The ancient Greeks had musical instruments such as drums, cymbals and pipes. The earliest known Greek music was intertwined with Greek poetry. Dancing with the lyre (phorminx) was used to accompany poets who composed melodies from short repeated phrases. Ancient Greeks used music to honor their gods. A particular Greek legend refers to how the god Hermes made the first clay from a turtle. Hermes then gave the lyre to Apollo, the cause of God, because Greek music is typified by ordered patterns. In addition to Hermes and Apollo, other Greek gods were associated with the music of Pan, Orpheus, Dionysus and Graces (daughters of Zeus).

Music in ancient Greek education

Music played an important role in education and was considered an important subject, as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Greek boys started learning music as early as 6 years old. The Greek musical modes were taught in Greek music theory. Eventually, Greek musical modernism became the basis of classical as well as Western religious music. The students used singing to help memorize oder like Iliad and Odyssey. Intrigued with the harmony of music, an outstanding student, known as Pythagoras, designed a mathematical theory behind musical tones in the 5th century BC that is still used in modern times.

Byzantine Empire and after the fall of Constantinople

During the Byzantine Empire (330 AD to 1453 AD), Greek music was influenced by Eastern liturgical chanting. This tradition of chanting continued until the Byzantine capital of Constantinople fell in 1453. Music was monophonic, which meant that it consisted of only a single musical line without harmony. In addition to being monophonic, the vocal music lacked instrumental accompaniment. This type of music developed in the Christian Greek cities of Antioch, Alexandria, and Ephesus. The 400 years of slavery that followed the collapse of the Byzantine Empire were a difficult period in which some influence on Greek music was established.

History of the songs of the Greek peoples

Greek folk songs, which go back to ancient Greek poetry and music, refer to the songs given to the people. The two different periods of Greek folk songs include the akritic and klephtic movements. Dating from the 9th century AD, the accritical styles expressed the struggle of the Greek warriors who defended the borders of the Byzantine Empire. The kleptical movement encompassed the end of the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Greek Revolution, which led to the independence of Greece in 1821. Musical styles from the kleptic movement include love songs, wedding songs and songs of both freedom and exile.

19th-century Music Revival

Greek music was reborn in the 19th century. Composers such as Spyridon Xyndas, Spyriod Samaras, (composer of the Olympic anthem) and Nikolaos Mantzaros influenced Greek music in the 19th century. Dimitris Lialios and Dionysios Rodotheatos Composer Kleon Triantafylou, known as ‘Attic’, created one of the first repertoire Greeks in his famous ‘Mantra Tou Attic’. Many other talented artists and composers came out of this period with their music to express Common Experiences in Everyday Greek Life.

Greek music from the 20th century

As the 1920s, female vocalists typically began to lead bands, including a violin and a sandouri. Some of the more notable D-musicians included Marika Papagika, Ross Eskenazi, Agapios Tomboulis and Rita Abatzi. The Rebetiko movement began during this time with Byzantine, Seaman and Ottoman influences. Rembetika music, which is Greek underground music, began around the beginning of the 20th century. This music was influenced by 2 million Greek resorts coming from Asia Minor.

Middle 20th century and Contemporary Greek Music

Folk music styles called amanethes and rebetika, which combined Greek and Byzantine traditions, were revived in the 1970s. During the 1950s and 60s, several Greek composers gained worldwide fame, such as Yanis Xenakis. Greek youth turned to pop and rock music in the 1960s as groups such as idols and charms grew in popularity. Pop music was influenced by both British and American rock music, along with Greek folk songs. Modern Greek music contains folk music with these traditions that combine both Eastern and Western influences. The music world is very much indebted to the ancient Greeks. In fact, the word ‘music’ is derived from the nine muses of ancient Greece, who were goddesses who ruled art and science. Modern musicians refer to their mouse, which is someone who influences the creative work of others. Various musical terms such as melody, melody, rhythm and others have their roots in the Greek language. Pythagoras, the father of music theory, was Greek. But with the fall of ancient Greece and the fall of the Roman and Byzantine empires, Greek music operated for centuries until it was reborn in the 19th century.