The multi-stem ''syrinx'' (panpipes)

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The multi-stem ''syrinx'' (panpipes)


It was a humble wind instrument, the ancient pipes of Pan, which were usually used by shepherds. It is represented in Cycladic figurines of the third millennium B.C.

It consisted of a set of 4 to 18 tubes of cane without reeds or lateral fingers-holes. The tubes were fastened together with flax, cane or wax.

The piper held it in both hands and blew into the desired pipes from the open upper end. The different sound length and consequently the different musical notes were ensured either by suitably graded unequal tube lengths, or (more common) by equal in length tubes blocked with wax to the required depth. It produced deep, sweet with richly "harmonious" sounds.

SOURCES: "M.L. West, Ancient Greek Music", "Curt Sachs, The History of Musical Instruments", "Julius Pollux, Onomasticon", "Apollodorus, The Library", "Aristotle, (Musical) Problems", "Plutarch, On Music", "Athenaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophistai", "Theokritos, Bukolika".