Did They Have Flutes in Ancient Greece?

Flutes have been a popular musical instrument across various cultures and civilizations, but did the ancient Greeks have flutes? The answer is yes, they did. The Greeks had a variety of flutes, which were used in different contexts and for different purposes.

The Aulos

One of the most popular types of flute in ancient Greece was the Aulos. This was a double-piped instrument that was played by blowing air into one of the pipes while covering or uncovering finger holes on both pipes to create different notes. The Aulos was commonly used in religious ceremonies and festivals.

The Tympanum

Another type of flute that was used in ancient Greece was the Tympanum. This was a small flute with only one pipe and a few finger holes that produced a high-pitched sound. The Tympanum was often played during processions and other public events.

The Salmos

The Salmos was another type of Greek flute that had a single pipe, but it had longer dimensions compared to the Tympanum. It had five finger holes, four on top and one at the bottom, which could be covered or uncovered to produce different notes.

The Pan Flute

The Pan Flute, also known as Syrinx, is another type of flute that is associated with ancient Greek mythology. According to legend, Pan invented this instrument by using reeds from riverbanks. It consists of several pipes of varying lengths bound together to form a single instrument.

The Greek Musical Legacy

The Greeks placed great importance on music as an art form and believed it had significant therapeutic effects on both physical and mental health. Their love for music can be seen in their literature, art, and architecture. Many famous philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle wrote about music’s role in society and its effects on the human mind.

The Importance of Flutes in Greek Culture

Flutes played a significant role in ancient Greek music. They were used in various contexts such as religious ceremonies, festivals, and public events. The Greeks believed that music had the power to connect humans with the divine and was an essential part of daily life.


In conclusion, flutes were an integral part of ancient Greek music and culture. From the Aulos to the Pan Flute, these instruments were used for both religious and secular purposes. The Greeks’ love for music has left a lasting legacy that continues to influence modern-day music today.