The Guitar Players in Ancient Greece


It was the lyre, harp or the kithara that guitarists would be playingThese string instruments were widely used in ancient Greece. They were played by all the professional musicians. The lyre and kithara were portable harp-like instruments played primarily to accompany dances and epic recitations, rhapsodies, odes, and lyric songs. It was also played solo at receptions, banquets, national games, and trials of skill. You could have been a citharede (a singer who used the cithara to accompany their singing). Cithara or kithara actually means “guitar” .


Or you might have been a chelys player. The chelys was a string instrument which had a tortoise shell back. It was believed that the god Hermes invented this instrument using the shell of a tortoise, two horns of an antelope and an added crossbar called the “live yoke. Hermes lashed these items together with reeds, added an animal skin as a resonator (most likely a goatskin) and strings. It was a gift for his half brother, Apollo. Apollo taught his son Orpheus to play it which inspired a famous painting called “Orpheus’ Lament” by 19C French painter, Alexandre Seon.


Which one would you pick to play?




Author: Alice Cotton Books

Artist, musician, teacher and author of unique children's books that integrate all of the above. Children learn basic musical concepts as they join in the adventures of musical characters like Largo, the half rest who goes on a search for his list key in places like Bomgo Drum Park and Detective Reed who solves the mysteries of where disappearing notes have gone. These books are sold on Amazon, Kindle and in the store at Check out: Musical Tales,The Case of the Flying Note,The Secret at Willow Wail,Adventures on a Blue Moon And more Detective Reed Mysteries are coming.

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