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BYZANTINE MUSIC AND HYMNS

Byzantine symbol
 
During the Byzantine years, the Greek-Orthodox church dominated the music. Even though the common man still sung and danced, the most prominent feature of this time was the hymns. No organ but the human voice was allowed, and to this day only singing is heard in the churches.

The "melos", or tonal and melodic system, was worked out, and now music was put on paper. The documents with music that have been found from this time are of great importance for the knowledge of music history.

Many of the melodies used in Orthodox hymns were actually ancient, but the lyrics were changed and Christian texts replaced the ancient ones. Through this, quite a few ancient melodies have been preserved.

The Byzantine centre for philosophical and religious studies was in Kappadocia, and here a special kind of songs were developed. They were folk songs, and are odes about the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas. To this day, these oldest living songs in Greece are still sung on Rhodes and Crete.

The bouzouki was used widely, and in many churches the instrument is pictured.