The Musical Instruments of the Ancient Greeks

From the guitar of Apollo to the hydraulis of Ctesibius

This exhibition brings 42 reconstructed ancient Greek musical instruments to life along with extensive audiovisual material, detailed descriptions and diagrams that are the product of yearlong research, study and construction by Kostas Kotsanas. These exhibits come from the Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments and Toys & Games operating in Katakolo under the auspices of the Municipality of Pyrgos, Greece. This is the most comprehensive and credible museum of its kind worldwide.

The musical instruments are fully functional and reliable, and their construction is based exclusively on ancient Greek literary resources and artistic vase depictions.

Some of the exhibits feature Pythagoras' monochord (single-stringed), helicon (eight-stringed) and syntonon (sixchord), with the help of which the great philosopher studied the musical scales and proved the mathematical relations that determine them. Hermes' lyra (lyre), the first stringed instrument with a tortoise shell and ox skin sound box, goat horn arms and sheep gut strings. Apollo's majestic kithara (guitar), a technologically complex instrument with balancing weights, prominent cam rotating pegs that released and adjusted the tension of the strings, flexible curlicues for a wavelike resonance and an adjustable bridge that changed the tone of musical notes. The pandoura (trichord), the predecessor of all contemporary stringed instruments with frets (such as the lute, the bouzouki, the baglamas, etc.) The famous Homeric phorminx and the archaic kithara (guitar), the Dionysian varvitos (barbitos), Orpheus' kithara (guitar), Sappho's peektis (harp), the triangle (triangular harp), the sambyke (sambuca), Ptolemy's helicon (eight-stringed), etc. supplement the ancient Greek stringed instruments. The aulos (clarinet and oboe), the diaulos (double aulos), the askaulos (bagpipe), Pan's syrinx (flute), the salpinx (trumpet), the tympanon (drum) and the rhoptron (tambourine), the kymbala (cymbals), the krotala (clappers), the seistron (rattle), the kroupezion, the psithyra (xylophone) and the copper-phone comprise some of the wind and percussion instruments. The exhibition concludes with Ktesibios' imposing hydraulis, the world's first keyboard instrument, from which guests can listen to the song of Seikilos, the oldest fully preserved ancient Greek musical text.

The exhibition (arranged in sections) encorporates the modern educational concepts of Pedagogy and Museum Education to act on multilple levels both throughout the educational community and the general public.

Take a tour to a fascinating collection of 42 ancient Greek musical instruments
Admire the Pythagorean monochord, helicon and sixchord, Hermes' lyre, Apollo's majestic guitar, the Dionysian barbitos, the famous Homeric phorminx, Orpheus' guitar, the pandoura, the archaic guitar, Sappho's peektis, the triangular harp, the sambyke, Ptolemy's helicon, etc.
The ancient musical instruments acquired sound once more, excerpts of musical compositions have reached us to date, having travelled on papyrus and stone columns; what remains to be discovered are the feelings of these amazing Greeks.