The baglamas is a plucked string instrument with a long necked bowl-lute. The body is often hollowed out from a piece of wood or else made from a gourd. It is a version of the bouzouki pitched an octave higher (nominally D-A-D), with unison pairs on the four highest strings and an octave pair on the lower D.
It was particularly popular to musicians who needed an instrument small enough to carry around easily under a coat. In the early part of the 20th century it was often used as a solo instrument for men in jail or for supporting the bouzouki in the Piraeus city style of rebetiko. During parts of the 20th century, players of the bouzouki and baglamas were persecuted by the government, and the instruments were smashed by the police.
The name comes from Turkish bağlama, which is a similar instrument.
Baglamas solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw7gvyRtWLs
The bouzouki was brought to Greece in the 1900s by Greek immigrants from Asia Minor, and quickly became the central instrument to the rebetika genre. A mainstay of modern Greek music, the front of the body is flat and is usually heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The instrument is played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound, reminiscent of a mandolin but pitched lower. There are two main types of bouzouki. The trichordo (three-course) has three pairs of strings tuned re, la, re (D, A, D), and the tetrachordo (four-course) has four pairs of strings tuned down one key from the guitar’s tuning to (C, F, A, D).
A very common musical group might be one or two bouzoukia, a baglamas, and a guitar. Sometimes a violin, or an accordion, a piano, or other instruments would be played as well.
Bouzouki solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gar-WdDYYD4
The Santouri is a type of hammered dulcimer. It probably evolved from harp-like instruments such as the lyra of the ancient Greeks. It is a form of the psalterion of Byzantine times. It is played with two “hammer-like” sticks whose ends are wrapped in cotton. These hammers are similar in function to the small hammers which strike the strings of a piano. The Santouri is popular in musical groups which include klarino, violi, lavouto and santouri. The percussive sound of the Santouri lends a strong, rhythmic element to the group, but it also plays the melodies and chordal accompaniments.
Santouri solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLwLjIQfzgw
The lyra of the Greeks of Pontos (Black Sea region of Asia Minor) is also known as the Kementse. It is played like a violin with a primitive style bow, but the musicians hold the lyra in an upright position. Sometimes they rest the instrument on their knee when they are sitting, and sometimes it is held out in front of them. The lyra usually has three strings. There are several tunings. Common tunings include: a-a-d, e-a-d. Since the instrument was often played alone, the tuning was often done according to the preference of the musician and his voice’s range. The musicians usually play two or all three strings at the same time, utilizing the open string(s) as a sort of drone to the melody. Sometimes they play the melody on two strings at once, giving a primitive harmony in fourths. They tend to play with many trills and embellishments, and with the unusual harmonies, the Pontian music has a very unique sound.
Lyra Pontos solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1gP6K7yt4U
The Cretan lyra is the most popular melody instrument on the island of Crete. It is a bowed instrument similar to the violin, and it usually has three strings which are tuned in fifths. The lyra players play the lyra in an upright position. They sometimes rest it on the knee, or, if they are standing, they will put one foot up on a chair and rest the lyra on the thigh. They have an unusual way of fingering the strings. Instead of pressing the strings with the finger tips, they press against the sides of the strings with the tops of their finger nails. The most common instrument used to accompany the lyra is the Cretan laouto, which is typically larger than the mainland laouto and tuned lower. The Cretan laouto players often play melodies with the lyra rather than just chords and rhythm. Sometimes two laoutos accompany the lyra, with one playing melody and the other playing rhythm and chords.
Lyra Crete solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhZfEktuw8s
The lavouto (laouto, lagouto) is a stringed instrument related to the Arabic ud or the Greek outi, as well as to the European lutes. In Greek folk music, it is the largest plucked string instrument. This instrument has 4 courses of strings, or 4 double strings. It is tuned (from lowest to highest strings) C, G, D, A. The lower three pairs of strings consist of one wound, one heavy metal string and one unwound string. The highest string, the A, consists of a pair of unwound strings of the same diameter.
The lavouto can be used as a melody instrument or as a chord, rhythm instrument to accompany a melody instrument such as the klarino or violi. Sometimes the lavouto players will strum the rhythm by striking all of the strings while playing the melody on the higher strings. This gives a melody, as well as a drone harmony and a dance rhythm.
Lavouto solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7HIHBVQgfk
The tsampouna is a Greek folk instrument of the bagpipe family, widespread in the Greek islands.
It is a double-chantered bagpipe and is inflated by blowing by mouth into a goatskin bag. It differs from the mainland bagpipe (or gaida) in that it does not have a separate, low-toned drone pipe. The double pipes of the tsampouna are fingered at the same time. In other words, the musician plays two pipes at the same time. On some islands one pipe has 5 holes, while the other one has only 2. This gives a simple “moving drone” sound.
The tsampouna is usually played by shepherds and is accompanied by the small drum, the toumbi. Sometimes a laouto will play a simple open chord, rhythmic accompaniment to the tsampouna.
Tsampouna solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsxuxh2UBQE
The klarino in Greece is an older version of the clarinet which is common in classical and pop music in Europe and America. The Albert system klarino has fewer keys and has a different tone than the modern clarinet. The Greek music players play the klarino in a different style from the musicians in other countries. The key of “C” is their favorite for the folklore music and “Bb” has become the most popular in recent years. The klarino players also use the A and G clarinets, which are lower pitched instruments.
The klarino is the most popular lead melody instrument in the mainland regions of Greece.
Klarino solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDiKowD3TY
The daouli is a two headed drum. It varies in size from the small 12-14 inch diameter, to the big 3-4 foot diameter daouli most common in north Greece. The most common size in Peloponnisos and Roumeli is about 20-30 inches in diameter.
The drumheads are usually made by goatskin. The right side of the drum has a lower pitched skin and is struck with a stick. The left side of the drum has a higher pitched skin and is struck a withe. The main dance beats are played with the heavier stick on the right side, while the “in between” beats are played with the light stick. The daouli players usually hang the drum from a belt or strap over the left shoulder.
In other areas of Greece, the daouli is called toumpano, tymbano, or toumbi.
Ntaouli solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybc1vn7Zzb8
The defi is a large hand drum with metal bangles. Its construction is similar to a tambourine. However the defi is made with a metal screw system where the head can be tightened and tuned. The defi has a low tone and the bangles are low pitched as well. It is a popular music instrument all over Greece and particularly in the northwestern Greece (Epiros) where there is still handmade production.
Defi solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvuyetxKNEw
Age: Died at 69 (1925-1994)
Birthplace: Xanthi, Greece
Profession: Film Score Composer, Musician, Composer
Credits: America America, Topkapi, Pote tin Kyriaki, The 300 Spartans, Sweet Movie, + more
Manos Hatzidakis was a Greek composer and theorist of Greek music. He was also one of the main prime movers of the “Éntekhno” song. In 1960 he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his song Never on Sunday from the film of the same name.
Street of Dreams Full Album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxpqr2skMUo
Never on Sunday Full Album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP83gE4Gfj8 Choros (Dance) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx6mh9BkL2M&list=PL48CAB4239F749107
Gioconda’s Smile https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV69C4E2yLw
Born: 29 July 1925
Birthplace: Chios, Greece
Profession: Film Score Composer, Songwriter, Politician, Composer
Credits: Serpico, Z, Zorba the Greek, State of Siege, The Trojan Women, + more
Michael “Mikis” Theodorakis is songwriter of over 1000 songs and composer. He scored for the films Zorba the Greek, Z, and Serpico. He is viewed as Greece’s best-known living composer.
Official website: http://www.mikis-theodorakis.net/
Golden Collection (Instrumental) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9A5OP0-1uY
Asma Asmaton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Z0_oKzZdg
Angels neighborhood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEHMwsztcVA
Born: 25 November 1941
Birthplace: Teichio (Tichio) in Phocis, Greece
Albums: Eternity and a Day, Elegy of the Uprooting, + more
Eleni Karaindrou is best known for scoring the films of the Greek director Theo Angelopoulos.
Karaindrou studied piano and theory at the Hellenic Conservatory. She also attended history and archaeology classes at the university. During the time of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 she lived in Paris, where she studied ethnomusicology and orchestration, and improvised with jazz musicians. Then she began to compose popular songs.
In 1974 she returned to Athens where she established a laboratory for traditional instruments and collaborated with the department of ethnomusicology of the Greek national broadcasting company.
Her first soundtrack album was released in 1979 for the movie Periplanissi by Christoforos Christofis. In 1982 she won an award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and was noticed by Theo Angelopoulos, who was serving as president of the jury. Karaindrou collaborated with the Greek director on his last eight films, from 1984 to 2008.
Wedding Vals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFaG_K7D5Y&list=PLzBu7Abj9KoGKwuJSfoW2JZHaxUCPVTJV
Journey to Kythira https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnBejfpIntk
The price of love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhepZMxNzZg
Born: 29 March 1943
Birthplace: Agria, Greece
Profession: Film Score Composer, Arranger, Record producer, Musician, Composer
Credits: Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, Missing, Alexander, Bitter Moon, + more
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, professionally known as Vangelis, is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music. He is best known for his Academy Award–winning score for the film Chariots of Fire, composing scores for the films Antarctica, Blade Runner, Missing, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Alexander, and the use of his music in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.
1492: Conquest of Paradise (Full Album) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC_TaSCuef8
Chariots of Fire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSav51fVlKU
Mythodea – for the NASA Mission Mars Odyssey 2001 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_U4k_lc3pE