the many recordings that have been made through the years, not much is actually
known of the ancient Greek music. We do know a bit about the musical
that were used, mainly from vase paintings, and from some texts we have descriptions
of song and dance.
Also, in some remote villages there are still songs and dances that have been
preserved through time and tradition.
Music was a very important part of ancient life. At religious ceremonies and
other festivities there were musicians and dancers, and the ancient plays had
choirs. The ancient Greeks said that the dance was invented to honour the goddess
Muses gave the gifts of music, dancing and singing to the humans.
The muse Calliope gave Man the most precious instrument: the voice. Apollo
was also connected with music, as well as Orpheus,
and the Graces.
In ancient Greek education, music was also a main subject, along with reading,
writing, grammar, arithmetic's and athletics etc. Singing was also used as a
means of memorizing and telling odes like the Iliad and the Odyssey. Pythagoras
was fascinated with harmony, and worked out a theory on the math's behind the
tones used into modern times.
What must be a characteristic of the ancient music are the Lydian and Phrygian
harmonies, influenced by the eastern civilizations to this very day, as well
as the many half- and quarternotes.
Maenad with double flute.
Vase painting, 410 BC.
Lyre made from turtle shell
Muse with kithara. Vase painting,