Vocational Development Center
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        Useful Infos



Cretan music is one of the most ancient folk music styles, a bridge between occidental and oriental music, which preserves the tradition in melody, rhythm as well as instruments used. The main instruments used in Cretan music nowdays are 'lyra' and 'laouto'.

Lyra is a stringed instrument played with an arc and has hardly changed since Byzantine times. Lyra is usually pear shaped and has 3 strings. The Cretan lyra is the most popular melody instrument on the island of Crete. The lyra players play the lyra in an upright position. In the past the arc had some bells attached, the gerakokoudouna which when the arc was moving, they produced a kind of supportive sound for lyra. Although lyra was known in Greece since the 9th century, it is not known when it first came to Crete.

Laouto is also a stringed instrument played like the guitar. It comes from oud and has 4 sets of double strings tuned in la-re-sol-do. As it usually supports lyra, it is tuned in mi-la-re-sol. It has developed quite a bit since Rennaisance and is often played in combination with lyra, violin, percussion instruments and other stringed instruments like bulgari and mantolin.

This seminar will introduce you to the history and present of Cretan music and folk dances and will give you the chance to understand and enjoy this unique musical expression. Local musicians will play for you and with you, explaining the main characteristics, scales and themes of Cretan music.

Your initiation includes your participation in playing lyra and laouto or other instruments used today in Crete. You will also be taught the main dances and you will visit workshops where you will learn about how Cretan instruments are made.

The seminars will take place at various locations and we'll also be going on excursions at traditional villages. At the end we'll participate in a 'glenti', celebration of Cretan music and dances.

You can listen to some samples of cretan music here: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3.

Do you love folk music? Here's your chance to feel the 'real thing'!

Seminar Program:
  • Day 1: Introduction to Cretan music and instruments used. Tradition and present.
  • Days 2-3-4: The main instruments 'Laouto' and 'Lyra'; Supporting instruments. Rhythms and sounds. Listen and play.
  • Days 5-6-7: Cretan dances. Learn the steps and feel the music.
  • Days 8-9: Visits to music workshops where you will learn how Cretan instruments are made.
  • Day 10: Overview and Cretan 'Glenti' (music festival).

Period On going
Price 650 €
Minimum number of participants 6
Seminar material Free
  1. Welcome dinner
  2. Farewell dinner
  3. Local transports in the frame of the project
Not Included Hotel, food & beverage

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