Music from Ancient Greece

Cratera con escena dionisiaca Pulse para ampliar Cratera con escena dionisiaca. Sala 36, vitrina 36.27

Greek vessel

This Greek vessel displays a character in eastern style dress, with a Phrygian cap, a long-sleeved, embroidered short tunic and boots. He is playing a tympanum or hand drum. To his right, seated upon a rock, a satyr plays a wind instrument called a diaulos, made out of a pair of tubes. Such instruments belonged to the entourage that accompanied the god Dionysus.

The aulos was, by far, the most typical Greek wind instrument along with the panpipes or pan flute. It was made out of wood or cane and included four holes and a reed that produced a high-pitched sound. Another similar instrument was the diaulos, whose most noteworthy feature was its ability to produce polyphony or more than one note at a time, and which in this case, is being played by a satyr. This aerophone was associated with the cult to Dionysus, a god whose rival was Apollo, who in turn was associated with string instruments. In Ancient Greece, there was a rivalry between string and wind instruments, which went beyond mere music. The sound of the lyre calmed the listeners´ spirits while the sound of the diaulos aroused them.