Culture: Music in Greece, Lyre, Bagpipes, & Double-Reed Aulos
Music plays an important role in Greek culture. Music in Greece has evolved over the ages assimilating influences from the various cultures that Greece came in touch with. The arts – particularly poetry, dancing, and music played an important role in the day-to-day lives of Greeks during the ancient times. Music in the ancient times was played for entertainment and for spiritual practices. In fact, the Greek music theory forms the basis for Western religious and classical music. The lyre, bagpipes, and the double-reed aulos were instruments used in Greece music of the bygone age.
Greek music fell into hibernation during Roman occupation and Ottoman rule. Greek music has experienced resurgence in the 19th century with many talented artists and composers reviving the musical traditions of Greece. Greece has a rich tradition of folk music. The two main styles are acritic and klephtic. Examples of Greek folk music include the cantadha, nisiotika, rebetiko, and several others.
The Greek islands of Crete, Aegean Sea islands, Cyclades, and Iparus have contributed to the richness of Greece’s music.
The Ionian Islands in particular have contributed a lot to Greek music; these islands were under Italian influence and escaped the cultural repression of the Ottomans that ruled the rest of the Greek isles.
The most popular music in Greece right now is Laika, the term means “music of the people.” Rebetiko, a form of music of the urban poor evolved in “hashish” dens. The theme of this music was melancholy and struck a chord with the underprivileged. Tsifteteli is Greek belly dance music and influences of Turkish music are clearly evident in it.