EXHIBITS > The musical instruments of ancient Greeks >
The ''magadis'' and ''peektis'' (harps)
It was a multi-stringed instrument with unequal in length strings. Its sound was sweet, ethereal and sensual.
It consisted of a wooden soundbox which had a palpitating membrane connected (at a perpendicular or usually an acute angle) to a horizontal wooden arm that brought the pegs for the tuning of the strings. The strings began along the leather surface of the soundbox and ended (parallel or converging slightly) to the horizontal arm. The large curved soundbox widened in one end where the longer strings echoed.
The seated player (almost always a woman who was called "psaltriai") held the harp with the arm of the instrument horizontally above her left thigh and the soundbox standing next to her body. With the fingers of both hands, she plucked the strings that varied from nine to twenty-two.
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", "Ptolemy, Harmonics", "Nicomachus, Manual of Harmonics", "Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Harmonic Elements".