What Music Did Ancient Greece Listen To?

Ancient Greece is known for its rich history, culture, and art. One of the aspects of Greek culture that still fascinates us today is their music.

So, what kind of music did Ancient Greece listen to? Let’s take a closer look.

Music in Ancient Greece

Music played an integral role in the daily life of Ancient Greeks. It was considered a form of art that could evoke emotions and capture the essence of life. Greek music was also closely tied to religion and mythology, with many songs and hymns dedicated to the gods.

The Instruments

The Greeks had a variety of musical instruments at their disposal. Some of the most common ones were:

  • Aulos: A double-reed instrument similar to an oboe.
  • Kithara: A large lyre with seven strings.
  • Lyre: A smaller harp-like instrument with four to ten strings.
  • Pandura: A three-stringed instrument similar to a lute.

These instruments were often used in combination with each other to create complex musical arrangements.

The Genres

There were several genres of music in Ancient Greece, each with its own unique style and purpose:

  • Epinikia: Victory songs sung at athletic or military events.
  • Dithyrambs: Hymns sung in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility.
  • Paean: Hymns sung to Apollo, the god of music and healing.
  • Scolia: Drinking songs sung during symposia (drinking parties).

The Notation System

Unlike modern music, Ancient Greek music did not have a standardized notation system. Instead, it relied on oral tradition and improvisation. However, some written fragments of music have been discovered that give us some insight into how the music may have sounded.


In conclusion, Ancient Greek music was a complex and integral part of their culture. It was closely tied to religion, mythology, and daily life. While we may never know exactly how the music sounded, we can still appreciate its beauty and influence on Western culture.