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Ancient Greek music is entirely lost as a continuous living performance tradition. We know of it only from written descriptions and representations of instruments on artifacts. There are a few fragments of Greek musical notation, including one from a tragedy by Euripides, Orestes.

The two principal instruments of the Greek theatre were the aulos, a double-reed played with two separate lines by continuous breathing. The aulos player wore tragic costume, stood next to the altar in the orchestra and was the highest paid performer. The kithara or lyre was a hand-held stringed instrument that was played by plucking the strings. It accompanied the aulos. In plays about the god Dionysos, a hand-held drum or tympanum, was played as were castanets.

aulos player

kithara player