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ANCIENT GREEK MUSIC: NOW WE FINALLY KNOW WHAT IT SOUNDED LIKE

traditional Greek music artists

Classical Greek music has been a long debated topic among researchers. Greek music was immensely rich in culture and had a significant impact on society. For Greeks music was an integral part of their lifestyles .they considered music to be a divine gift from God .and singing and dancing were carried on almost all social and religious gatherings .it became so much popular among ancient Greek people that every religious ceremony and wedding events were decorated by music. Keeping in mind the popularity of music in Greeks, the people started to form bands. Their sole purpose was to perform ancient music effectively and efficiently. They had different groups which performed in wedding ceremonies, religious gatherings, sports celebrations and funerals. These Hellenic influenced were known as Koina.

Keeping in mind the great impact of music on Greek people here is a brief look at their history of Greek music and how it sounded like.

GREEK MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

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The traditional Greek music artists & Literary text, ancient documents, paintings and archaeological remains provide enough evidence that music was eminent part of Greek culture .they used both stringed and non-stringed instruments .among the two tools that survived over the centuries were aulos and lyre. aulos was believed to be designed from craving of bone .it was also known to be the oldest Greek musical instrument to be known .the other one being lyre.for them music became as sacred as a discipline having both religious and cultural connotation .lyre was popular among younger generation pupil aged between 16 to 13 were asked to play the lyre at school at alongside their teachers. This, according to them, created a useful link among the two. The lyre and aulos were the two instruments that were played simultaneously often by a single player, and it created a significant impact on the overall performance.

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GREEK MUSIC RHYTHM AND NOTATIONS

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Greek considered music to be a form of mathematical notation .they had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals an octave ratio of 2:1, a fifth 3:2, and fourth 4:3 and so on. Greek music had its rhythm, and its rhythm has been described into meters. The Greek words had long and short syllable s; the former had double the duration of the latter. As term dactylic hexameter has been used. It may sound complicated .it is strictly based on the length of syllables of words which create long and short patterns of elements. Hence the tempo could not be decided fast or slow. The Greeks also developed two notations one for instrumental music and vocal.

Despite wealth and information, the sense and sound of ancient Greek music have proved incredibly elusive the terms like mode, enharmonic, diesis, and so on are complicated name and sound unfamiliar as well. Greek music sounded scarce and fragmentary.

GREEK MUSIC AND HARMONY

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When we say that the Greek music was fragmentary than what about the harmony in the songs of Greek music. Thousands of words about the theory of melody and peace have been written in the writings of Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy .but these does not provide us with any real sense of the melodic and harmonic richness of the Greek music. On the other hand, researches proved that the Greeks believed that music had harmony and emotional link between listener and player.it also served as moral and ethical purpose in society. People, therefore, made it an essential part of their lives. The oldest testament of Greek music that survived over the centuries is the song of Seikilos.in ancient Greek poetry the songs were explicit .in the 6th and 7th century the songs of Sappho were very famous. The lyrics in such songs featured in the full range of ceremonies and celebrations.

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MUSIC AND GREEK GODS

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Music was considered to be a gift from higher deities .every musical instrument was dedicated to a certain God. Hermes (lyre), Pan the syrinx (panpipes) and the Athena aulos the flute. Music gave divine power to Greeks, even the Greek heroes mentioned in the paintings; architecture and sculpture are also seen holding air playing of musical instruments. Because it was considered that every musical ceremony was an honor paid to Greek gods; therefore, music was religiously honored. The players, musicians and were especially regarded and was given higher place in society. Their attire and lifestyle depicted that they became the elites of the community.

Music, however, for Greek played an important role, it surrounded their overall lifestyle. It was part of their religious ceremonies to wedding celebrations .it gave them the divine power. A source of enlightened from the higher deity although it seemed fragmented and scarce it connected to mind and soul of Greeks. And therefore, gained immense popularity among them. It gave them the power to connect to God.

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