Music in Greece prior to the Middle Ages

Essay by anemoskkkHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2006

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Music and Greece have a long history dating from the Antiquity, during which poetry, dancing and music were inseparable and constitute an important part of ancient Greek's everyday life; Greek tragedy of the first century AD and after also used music into its component elements.

The Greeks loved music, and made it an important part of their lives. They thought of music as a way of honoring the gods, and making the world a more human, civilized place. Music and dance have been a part of Greek culture for thousands of years. In ancient times, choruses made up of men, women, and children were formed to sing for religious rites, to perform poetry set to music for weddings and funerals, and just for entertainment.

Two important instruments in ancient Greece were the aulos, a double-pipe, double-reed instrument, and the lyre, a plucked string instrument which is like small harps, and might have sounded something like a guitar.

According to the Greek story, the first lyre was made from a turtle shell by the god Apollo when he was a baby. Apollo was the god of reason and logic, and the Greeks thought of music as a great expression of order and patterns. Lyre music was played calmer, and more soothingly, than the pipes and drums.. The kithara was a special kind of lyre that was played mostly by professionals. Some scholars believe that the name "guitar" comes from the Greek word kithara. Playing contests were held for aulos and kithara players. These professional musicians were highly regarded in society.

They also had pipes, drums and cymbals. Their pipes were made from wood or reeds, with holes cut in them for your fingers to play the tune. Some were played vertically, like a recorder, and some were played sideways, like a...