Modern Greek History

Elements and History of Modern Greek Music

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Bouzouki

Music is a big part of the Greek culture. Think about all the Greek functions and family parties you’ve attended. It’s a rare thing for one of these events not to include music. The same is true in Greece.

Greek techno is playing at a nightclub. A gentleman grabs his bouzouki and strums while passing the time at a taverna. A diverse amount of Modern Greek music plays on a radio in someone’s car.

Yes, the music is diverse. Yet, there are some things that are common no matter what style of music it is. Here are some of the most common characteristics of Modern Greek music.

Historical Overview of Greek Music

What we consider traditional Greek folk music is closely tied to the rich history of Greece. In Ancient Greece, the music was an integral part of Greek theater. Later on, music evolved and was influenced by the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, and later on, the Ottoman Empire.

In a lot of ways, it is the Ottoman occupation that greatly influenced traditional Greek music, which often has a sound reminiscent of the Middle East. Rebetiko, for example, is a type of folk music that has elements of both Byzantine and Ottoman music.

Traditional folk music is another important element of Greek music. There are also a score of dances that go along with the tunes. The music also differs depending on the region. For example, the island of Crete has a distinctive style where the chief instrument is a lyra. Cretan music was popularized in the film, Zorba the Greek.

Modern Greek Music

The music of the past played a big part in shaping the popular music of Greek’s present. Greece’s mainstream music is called “modern laika” or “laiko pop”. This is music that combines elements of traditional and historical Greek music with the standard “westernized” music that is part of the pop culture in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

There are several other trends in Modern Greek music that are worth noting. There’s a form of music called Skyladiko, which is traditionally performed with bouzouki and guitars, a Greek version of the “New Wave” movement, which features synthesizers and other synthetic musical elements, and a form of techno music featuring Greek artists and the Greek language.

Critics of this type of music, particularly modern laika, believe that the music itself is of a lower quality. They believe that the vocals are subpar and that the musicians aren’t as talented as some of their classical counterparts. However, this is the music that has made its way into the popular culture of Greece so the majority of the population seems to embrace it.

As you can see, Greek music is fairly diverse. Though the music has evolved from ancient times, one thing remains the same. Not only is music an integral part of the performance culture of Greece, but it is also enjoyed by the people. The music is a reflection of both the past and the present.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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