The Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments operates in Katakolon, Greece under the auspices of the Municipality of Pyrgos, in the John S. Latsis building next to the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology and includes 42 ancient Greek musical instruments accompanied by detailed descriptions and diagrams after research, study and construction by Kostas Kotsanas. The instruments operate and their construction is based on ancient Greek literature and vase paintings.
The exhibits include
The monochord, the helikon and the syntonon of Pythagoras, with which the great philosopher studied the musical scales and proved the mathematical relations that define them.
The lyra of Hermes, the first stringed instrument with a tortoise shell and ox skin soundbox, goat horn arms and sheep gut strings.
The majestic guitar of Apollo, a technologically complex instrument with balancing weights, prominent cam rotating string tension spirals, flexible curlicues for a wave-like resonance and an adjustable bridge for the changing of musical notes.
The pandoura, the predecessor of all contemporary stringed instruments with frets (i.e. the lute, the bouzouki, the baglamas, etc.).
The eminent Homeric phorminx and the archaic guitar, the Dionysian barbitos, Orpheus’ guitar, the harp of Sappho, the triangular harp, the sambyke, the clappers, the Ptolemaic helicon, etc., supplement the ancient Greek stringed instruments. The aulos, the diaulos, the askaulos, the panpipes, the salpinx, the tympanon and the rhoptron, the cymbals, the clappers, the rattles, the kroupezion, the psithyra and the copper-phone are some of the wind and percussion instruments.
Lastly, the impressive hydraulis of Ctesibius, the first worldwide keyboard instrument, dominates the end of the exhibition, from which the visitors may hear the song of Seikilos, the most ancient complete musical composition.
More information is available at www.kotsanas.com. If you dont have enough time to make Olympia or if you just want to hang around Katakolon go check them out, and drop us a line with your thoughts!
If you are interested in Ancient Greek Music then be sure to check out the Petros Tabouris Ensemble who have put together a number of great albums featuring original instruments playing both ancient and modern scores. The image above take you to amazon.com, you could also try amazon.co.uk