Music in Greece is of incredible diversity due to the innovative Greek compression of different influences of the Western and Eastern cultures of Europe and Asia. Music is definitely an important aspect of the daily Greek traditional culture. It has a long past dating from the Antiquity, when dancing, poetry and music were inseparable and was an essential part of the everyday life of the ancient Greek. The Greek tragedy used traditional music as one of its component elements.
Subsequently, with the Byzantine Empire's development as well as Ancient Greece's fall, Greece music got a more ecclesiastical manner. Within Ottoman domination's 400 years, the Eastern musical sounds influenced it. It got reborn only within the 19th-century with all the opera compositions of Spyros Samaras (1861-1917) and Nikolaos Mantzaros (1795-1872).
From that moment on, Greece produced many talented artists, including great composers to fabulous interprets. Music in Greece became an expression and a testimony of the slavery years, a weapon of the colonel authority and a way to express love, death, human fears, that accompanied the Greeks in their everyday life.
From that moment on, many accomplished artists and musicians were produced by Greece, including good composers to amazing interprets. Music in Greece became a way to communicate about love, death, human fears, that followed the Greeks in their everyday life, a testimony of the captivity years, an expression and a firearm of opposition against to the colonel force.
Music types and well-known Greek musicians
Information about Greece Music sorts and types (Kantada, Dimotiko, Rebetiko, Nisiotika) and more information about some of the world-famous performers (Miropoulos, Kalomiris, Callas, Theodorakis, Xenakis and more)
Music Types Folk Songs (Dimotiko Tragoudi)
Folk Greek melody perceives its origins coming from the time of ancient poetry and music. It may be divided into two musical movements: the klephtic and the akritic. The akritic style was created to express the life and problems of the "akrites" - frontier guards of the Byzantine Empire. It dates from the 9th century AD.
The another style that was klephtic was born between the start of Greek Revolution that led to the Greek Freedom in 1821 and also the end of the Byzantine period. This music style is made from the "kleftes", the heroes who lived in the mountains, leading a revolution against the Ottoman tyranny. The klephtic music is monophonic, with second voices that repeat a special rhythmical system, without the harmonic accompaniment. It's composed songs of independence, love, wedding, exile, death, freedom and sorrows. It tells about an important, bloody part of the Greek history and their life.
Musical instruments used in Greek folk songs are the lira and laouto (lute), the tambouras and gaida (bagpipe), the zournas (shawm), the daouli (drum), the dachares (tambourine), the ziyia (paired groups) and the violi (violin).
Mostly used musical instruments in Greek folk-songs are the laouto (lute) and lira, the gaida (bagpipe) and tambouras, the daouli (drum), the zournas (shawm), the dachares (tambourine), violin (violin) and also the ziyia (paired groups).
Comes from Kefalonia area and made at the start of the 19th century, it's a music style of a romantic serenade, sung with three male in a chorus, accompanied by mandolin or guitar. This type of music has been influenced by the Italian music and quickly reached the remaining parts of Greece and also all the Ionian Islands. In Athens, the cantadha is not the same, escorted with a company made up of laouto, clarinet and violin.
This sort of melodies that were preferred in many areas was born inside the Greek islands. Every island has its way of dancing and playing this nissiotiko type of music. Lira, violin, guitar and clarinet accompany the low voice of a single man or the high-pitched women voices. Nissiotika remains easy to listen in the most festival on any Greek area where an enormous band of performers play life music during the entire evening.
This renowned type of music in Greece was born in the tekedes and the hashish dens, the Turkish style undercover cafes of the area of Piraeus and the Thessaloniki city. This music was spread by two million refugees who came from Asia Minor in 1922, following the destruction of Smyrne by the Turks. Denied by the Greek society and homesick, those Greeks who had never lived in Greece and who'd lost everything, sang about their poverty, pain, hunger, penitentiary, authorities oppression, medicine hashish, betrayal and addiction. Rembetiko was an unacceptable music of the outcast, the urban blues of Greece.
The rembetiko became highly popular in the nightclubs of Athens, where it slowly came out of the underground world and grew to become more popular in the 1950s, despite the fact that it was despised by the Greek people because they observed it as an outcast music. The key instruments of the rembetiko are the guitar, an eight string oval-shape instrument - bouzouki, the baglama, which looks like a miniature bouzouki, and for accompaniment, the ntefi (a leather small tambourine with little metallic plates circling it) and the ziyia.
Some of the greatest and most famous players and singers are Marika Ninou, Sotiria Bellou, Markos Vamvakaris, and Vassilis Tsitsanis. During the 1960s, the rembetiko style became unpopular again. Teenagers preferred the newest rock music coming from the West, but the oldest people began listening again towards the candhades of the 1920s. But this music types is back in the styles and several taverns offer rebetika music performances during weekends.
Late 20th-century music
In the 1980s, modern musicians like Georgios Ntalaras, Dionyssis Savopoulos, Pavlos Sidiropoulos, Nikos Papazoglou and Stavros Xarhakos rehabilitated the rembetiko music and combined it with rock music, getting a new, zealous and exciting sort of music. Their lyrics of songs were about political or personal freedom (Ntallaras, Sidiropoulos and Savopoulos), about drugged generation (Sidiropoulos) or facets of everyday life, discomfort and sadness (Papazoglou).
World-famous artists of Greek musicManolis Kalomiris (1883-1962)
He's a consultant of the Greek National School and one of the most well-known classical composers of Greek music. He used, for motivation, Greek folk tradition and poems of great poets like Sikelianos, Mavilis, Palamas and others. He established the National Conservatorium of Greece and the Greek Conservatorium.
Dimitris Mitropoulos (1896-1960)
Maestro, the modern Greek composer and pianist, often recognized as being the brand new Mahler.
Maria Callas (1923-1977)
Callas was born in New York from Greek parents, she was one of the most celebrated sopranos in opera. She was especially well-known for her occurrence that is unique on-stage and for her violent relationship with Aristotelis Onasis.
Yannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
Since he was bound to death for engaging towards the Resistance from the Germans, Xenakis was pushed to leave Greece and move to Paris. His music's inspiration directed him to become a musician with worldwide recognition. His musical compositions consist of electro-acoustic, acoustic and multimedia creations. He was a leader of the development of digital synthesis.
Mikis Theodorakis (1925-)
He is one of the most famous Greek musicians who wrote tracks against German occupation and was an energetic member of the largest Greek resistance organization (EAM). He was really active through the Civil War and also the decades of the Greek Junta. In 1954, he moved to Paris where he wrote music for movies and ballet. Since he wrote about equality and freedom, he became a worldwide symbol of Greece.
Manos Hatzidakis (1925-1994)
He's one of many most important composers of Greece music, who composed music for a lot of ancient tragedies as well as things for the modern collection, light and folk songs which triggered a rebirth of the folk music. He also created music for cinema, ballet and theatre.