Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Greek Traditional Music

Greek Traditional Music

The aim of this research program was to collect and examine existing information related to ancient Greek, religious Byzantine and contemporary folk music.

Primary Investgator Giorgos Amargianakis †, Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of Athens

The aim of this research program was to collect and examine existing information related to ancient Greek, religious Byzantine and contemporary folk music. The specific aims regarding the study of each musical genre were as follows:

A. Ancient Greek music

1. Card-indexing and archiving of all information on music from ancient Greek writers, as well as the collection of all surviving musical recordings
2. Photographing and archiving of musical performances in paintings, bas-relief and sculpture.

About 16,500 entries on music from ancient Greek and Latin writers have been indexed and archived in a special lexicon. Also, approximately 450 performances relating to ancient Greek music have been classified in a special archive.

B. Byzantine ecclesiastical music

1. Photographing and cataloguing of surviving manuscripts and theoretical writings, as well as information on music from the Patristic literature.
2. Study of the tradition of melodies since the appearance of Byzantine notation until today. Until now 162 music codes have been microphotographed (Microfilm Collection). Furthermore, an effort to decipher the old Byzantine notation especially of the versicle music was in progress throughout the duration of the programme.

C. Greek folk music

1. Taping and transcription on stave of folk songs from all parts of Greece.
2. Collecting and archiving of recorded and hitherto published material.
3. Publishing on discs of representative melodies according to area.

Transcriptions of traditional melodies from treatises of the 19th and 20th century were indexed and around 300 papers on Byzantine and folk music, published in rare journals and newspapers have been bound in 11 volumes. In addition, past music material (audio tapes with original recordings) was gathered and integrated into a single archive with the new recordings that took place within the programme.

Project Team

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