as we should all know is unique and it was born by the human need to
imitate the elements of nature and also by the human need to express
his feelings according his way of life and thought so that we could
say fairly that music is the only language that connect people.
But how music was expressed in Crete and how deeply has its roots in
Cretan music, as generated in prehistoric times and in the way it was
preserved or evolved until today, is the most archaic and genuine Greek
and European music. There are references to it in Plato's "Laws"
and "Minos", Euripides in his "Cretes", Sophocles
in his "Daedalus", Herodotus in his "Historia",
Aristotle, Isocrates, Thukydides, Plutarch, Diodorus from Sicily, Stravon
and others, all admiring the pre-hellenic Minoan civilization.
Other evidence can be found in the music and dancing features that survived
either directly or indirectly throughout the centuries and the islandís
adventures, as well as in the modern-day singing and dancing practice.
The geographer Strabo, in his geographical narrations, speaks of the
great musical and "orchestral" peak in ancient Crete, which
is reflected in the famous "Cretan Laws" on music, poetry
and dance. Virtually all historians agree that the dances Pyrrichios,
Taurus, Orsites, Epikredios, Geranos, as well as all ancient sacred
or secular dances, are either Cretan or of Cretan origin, which with
the conquests of the island (by the Achaeans in
1500 BC, the Dorians in 1000 BC, the Romans in 60 BC and the Byzantines
in 400 AD) were dispersed and became local dances elsewhere. Homer,
in his "Iliad" mentions that Ariadne, Minos's daughter, was
taught the dance geranos with the appropriate musical accompaniment
by the ingenious and wise Daedalus.
Sophocles, in the "Aias" mentions "Knossian dances"
of great attendance and fame.
The great composer Thaletas of the 7th century, won a music-and-dance
contest in Karneia, Sparta, using the divine art of the lyre and the
dance, which he had aquired through tradition.
Legend has it that the first composer of love songs was the Cretan kithara
player Ametor, and that since then kithara players were called "Ametorides".
One of the ancient Greek rhythms, "paeon" also called "Cretan",
is still found today in the "rizitika" songs; it became known
in Sparta by Thaletas, and was originally conceived by the Eteocritans
and Coryvans as an accompaniment to the Pyrrichian melody of Paean Apollo.
One of the composite ancient Greek meters, the double trochaic, is traditionally
called, once more, "Cretan".
In general, whenever there is a reference to music or dance, either
in ancient or modern times, Crete appears to have contributed substantially.
Let us now take a look at the spreading and evolution of Cretan music
in other centuries and places.
The Mycenean civilization, which inherited the great Mediterranean civilization
of Minoan Crete, which formed the basis of the grandeur of classical
antiquity, among other things inherited musical elements. These elements
were transferred to wherever Greek civilization spread, were modified
and gradually became local music in sacred and secular hymns and in
music and dance laws (called "Cretan"). Therefore, it is with
Cretan influence that all musical patterns were created, under various
The modes (Lydian, Mixolydian, Phrygian, Dorian etc.) which glorified
classical and Byzantine hymns, and the modern European notes and staves
are both undoubtedly an evolution of the seven alphabetic notes of ancient
Greek music, as translated by the Romans, i.e. A, B, C, D, E, F, G,
and as modified in the 10th century by the European musicians Hucbald
and d' Arezzo. So, Cretan music, as it is preserved today on the island
of Crete and as it evolved through different times and places, is the
most archaid music, which, having been born and raised in the past,
later became developed and perfected as Cretan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine
and finally European music.
Moreover, the tunes that accompany us while we are dancing to the rizitika
or syrtos or pendozalis dances, or other folk songs, is a simple but
spectacular result of an endless and unprecedented creative tradition.
The Dorian, the Lydian and the other modes discernible in present melodies
are enough to prove what we have mentioned above.
An extensive scientific research will undoubtedly shed new light on
all the relative facts and help interpret and clear many delusions about
Music, song, dance and the age long tradition of Serenade, this original
poetic vein that is expressed with compression, kindness and elevation
and seeks to be encouraged by friendship and devotion and its frequent
use in daily life made it as one of the most significant means of artistic
expression of simple people in island that daily improvise with miraculous
aptitude couplet to serve a specific need.
In our days physical, historical and widely socioeconomical conditions
have changed. Our world has changed but humans all over the world continue
to have the same problems, wishes, pleasures and anxieties.
Cretan people sing about happiness, pain, love with its deeply human
tradition in a world that is looking for human. Young children continue
up today to dance traditional Cretan dances, to sing Serenades and to
make and learn playing traditional musical instruments because of the
power of the soul the hobbyhorse and the temperament of Cretan whenever
they are. This variety in the way of expression in Cretan tradition
and speech, which rippled with the comfort of "Erotokritos and
Erophilis", that paints in the air the "Agrimakia" and
plays with the inexhaustible source of Serenade the speech of Crete,
the voice of Cretan soul, a voice by which speaks all our ancestors
and as Kazantzakis would say: "It is our duty in this transitional
era everything is becoming extinguished quickly is to preserve our traditional
for younger people".
We should preserve it not as a museum piece or as a folkloric item but
we should keep it alive as it remained centuries through up today.
It is a necessity for our children and for us in order not to be lost
in the alienate current of the modern electronic world and the chaotic
Internet. It forms also a necessity for the visitors of our island that
they really want to learn about Crete and its beauties and its particularities
of the daily life its tradition and its civilization in general. So
it is the other dimension of the touristic development in Crete that
we have to take care which is the essential contact of the tourists
with our civilization so that they will become original ambassadors
of our civilization in abroad.