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Byzantine music

Byzantine music (Greek: Βυζαντινή Μουσική) is the music of the Byzantine Empire composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music. Greek and foreign historians agree that the ecclesiastical tones and in general the whole system of Byzantine music is closely related to the ancient Greek system. It remains the oldest genre of extant music, of which the manner of performance and (with increasing accuracy from the 5th century onwards) the names of the composers, and sometimes the particulars of each musical work's circumstances, are known.The tradition of eastern liturgical chant, encompassing the Greek-speaking world, developed in the Byzantine Empire from the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 until its fall in 1453. It is undeniably of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical Greek age, on Jewish music, and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early (Greek) Christian cities of Alexandria, Antioch and Ephesus.     

Folk music (Dimotika)

Greek folk traditions are said to derive from the music played by ancient Greeks. There are said to be two musical movements in Greek folk music: Acritic   songs and Klephtic songs. Akritic music comes from the 9th century akrites, or border guards of the Byzantine Empire. Following the end of the Byzantine   period, klephtic music arose before the Greek Revolution, developed among the kleftes, warriors who fought against the Ottoman Empire. Klephtic music is monophonic and uses no harmonic accompaniment. Paleá dhimotiká ("old traditional songs" mainly from Peloponnese and Thessaly) are accompanied by clarinets, guitars, tambourines and violins, and include dance music forms like syrtó, kalamatianó, tsámiko and hasaposérviko, as well as vocal music like kléftiko. Many of the earliest recordings were done by Arvanites like Yiorgia Mittaki and Yiorgios Papasidheris. Instrumentalists include clarinet virtuosos like Petroloukas Halkias, Yiorgos Yevyelis and Yiannis Vassilopoulos, as well as oud and fiddle players like Nikos Saragoudas and Yiorgos Koros. The music of Epirus in the northwest of Greece (present to varying degree in the rest of Greece and the islands contains folk songs that are mostly pentatonic and polyphonic, sung by both male and female singers. Distinctive songs include lament songs, shepherd's songs (skáros) and drinking songs (tis távlas). The clarinet is the most prominent folk instrument in Epirus, used to accompany dances, mostly slow and heavy, like the menousis, fisouni, podhia, sta dio, sta tria, zagorisios, kentimeni, koftos, yiatros and tsamikos. The polyphonic song of Epirus constitutes one of the most interesting musical forms, not only for the east Mediterranean and the Balkans, but also for the worldwide repertoire of the folk polyphony. Except from its scale, what pleads for the very old origin of the kind is its vocal, collective, rhetorical and modal character.         

Rebetiko music

Rebetiko emerged in the 1920s as the urban folk music of Greek society's outcasts. The earliest rebetiko musicians --refugees, drug-users, criminals, and itinerants-- were scorned by mainstream society. They sang heartrending tales of drug abuse, prison and violence, usually accompanied by the instrument   called bouzouki (pl.: bouzoukia) (a sort of lute derived from the Byzantine tambourás and related to the Turkish saz). In 1923, many ethnic Greeks from Asia Minor fled to Greece as a result of the second Greco-Turkish War. They settled in poor neighborhoods in Piraeus, Thessaloniki, and Athens. Many of these immigrants were highly educated, such as songwriter Vangelis Papazoglou, and Panagiotis Tountas, composer and leader of Odeon Records' Greek subsidiary, who are traditionally considered as the founders of the Smyrna School of Rebetiko. A Turkish tradition that came along with the Greek migrants was the tekés (τεκές) "opium den", or hashish dens. Groups of men would sit in a circle and smoke hashish from a hookah, and improvised music of various kinds. With the coming of the Metaxas dictatorship, rebetiko was repressed due to the uncompromising lyrics. Hashish dens and bouzoukia were banned. Many songs from this period were composed in prison, where musicians would devise instruments out of scavenged equipment. After World War II, rebetiko became a "calmer" and more accessible form of music. Some of the earliest legends of Greek Oriental music, such as the quartet of Markos Vamvakaris, Artémis (pseudonym of Ανέστης or Ανέστος Δελιάς), Stratos Payioumtzis, and Batis came out of this music scene. Vamvakaris became perhaps the first renowned rebetiko musician after the beginning of his solo career. Other popular rebetiko songwriters and singers of this period (1940s) include: Dimitris Gogos (better known as Bayandéras), Stelios Perpiniadis, Stratos Payioumtzis, Giannis Papaioannou, Giorgos Mouflouzelis, and Apostolos Hatzichristos. The scene was soon popularized further by stars like Vassilis Tsitsanis. His song Συννεφιασμένη Κυριακή - Synnefiasméni Kyriakí became an anthem for the oppressed Greeks when it was composed in 1943, despite the fact that it was not recorded until 1948. He was followed by female singers like Marika Ninou, Ioanna Yiorgakopoulou, and Sotiria Bellou. In 1953, Manolis Chiotis added a fourth pair of strings to the bouzouki, which allowed it to be tuned tonally (Western tuning) and set the stage for the future 'electrification' of rebetiko. This final era of rebetiko (mid 1940s-1953) also featured the emergence of night clubs (κέντρα διασκεδάσεως) as a means of popularizing music. By the late 1950s, rebetiko had declined; it only survived in the form of Archontorebetiko (αρχοντορεμπέτικο "posh rebetiko"), a refined style of rebetiko that was far more accepted by the upper class than the traditional form of the genre. The mainstream popularity of archontorebetiko paved the way for Éntekhno and Laïkó. Rebetiko in its original form was revived during the Junta of 1967–1974, when the Regime of the Colonels banned it. After the end of the Junta, many revival groups (and solo artists) appeared. The most notable of them include Opisthodhromiki Kompania, Rembetiki Kompania, Agathonas Iakovidis, Ta Pedhia apo tin Patra, Dimitris Kontogiannis, Marió, and Babis Tsertos.        

Popular (Laïkó)

Laïkó (λαϊκό τραγούδι "song of the people, folk song" or αστική λαϊκή μουσική "urban folk music"), also known today as classic laïkó (κλασικό λαϊκό), was the mainstream popular music of Greece during the 50s and 60s. As it was the case with éntekhno, laïkó (and soft laïkó (ελαφρολαϊκό - elafrolaïkó)) emerged after the popularization of rebetiko; but the rhythms and lyrical themes of laïkó songs were far more orientalized and can be compared with Turkey's fantezi songs. The influence of oriental music on laïkó can be most strongly seen in 1960s indoyíftika (ινδογύφτικα) "indian gypsy (songs)" (or ινδοπρεπή "indian-like"), which can be described as filmi with Greek lyrics. Manolis Angelopoulos was the most popular indoyíftika performer, while pure laïkó was dominated by superstar Stelios Kazantzidis and Stratos Dionysiou. Among the most significant songwriters and lyricists of this category are considered to be Akis Panou, George Zambetas, Apostolos Kaldáras, Giorgos Mitsakis, Babis Bakális, Giannis Papaioannou, and Eftichia Papagianopoulos. Many artists have combined the traditions of éntekhno and laïkó with considerable success, such as the composers Mimis Plessas, Stavros Xarchakos, and Giorgos Mouzakis, and the lyricist Lefteris Papadopoulos. During the same era, there was also another kind of soft music (ελαφρά μουσική, also simply called ελαφρό - elafró "soft (song)", literally "light") which became fashionable; it was represented by ensembles of singers/musicians such as the Katsamba Brothers duo, the Trio Kitara, the Trio Belcanto, and the Trio Athene. The genre's sound was an imitation of the then contemporary Spanish and Mexican folk music but also had elements from the early Athenian popular songs. Laïkó in its original form eventually declined in popularity in the mid 1970s. Today, it mainly survives in the form of Éntekhno laïkó (Έντεχνο λαϊκό).


  Drawing on rebetiko's westernization by Tsitsanis and Chiotis, Éntekhno arose in the late 1950s. Éntekhno (lit. meaning "art song") is orchestral music with elements from Greek folk rhythm and melody; its lyrical themes are often political or based on the work of famous Greek poets. As opposed to other forms of Greek urban folk music, éntekhno concerts would often take place outside a hall or a night club in the open air. Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis were the most popular early composers of éntekhno song cycles. Other significant Greek songwriters included Stavros Kouyoumtzis, Manos Loïzos, and Dimos Moutsis. Significant lyricists of this genre are Manos Eleftheriou, and the poet Tasos Livaditis. By the 1960s, innovative albums helped éntekhno become close to mainstream, and also led to its appropriation by the film industry for use in soundtracks. A form of éntekhno which is even closer to Western Classical music was introduced during the late 1970s and 1980s by Thanos Mikroutsikos. (See the section 'Other popular trends' below for further information on Néo kýma and Contemporary Éntekhno.)
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