RECONSTRUCTION OF THE INSTRUMENTS
of Ancient Greek Instruments
The reconstruction of musical instruments was what Panayiotis Stefos initially focused on, this pioneering work gradually developed into a thorough, scientific study on Ancient Greek Music.
He made a detailed research in museums, collected various sources of information, designed and reconstructed the ancient instruments.
The aim of this attempt was not just to create musical instruments that would serve as attractive pieces for exhibition purposes but as functional musical instruments that would present the surviving ancient musical pieces in the best possible way.
We never have been interested in closing these instruments into a museum, nor did we intend them to be sold as souvenirs to visitors of Greece. They are fully functional instruments and they travel throughout the world, they are moving young and old with their history and sound, opening up horizons and giving inspiration to those who want to deal with history, music, mathematics, physics, language, theater, and, of course, the making of instruments.
After many years of exhaustive research of all kinds of sources, the construction I propose was mainly based on the detailed descriptions we have from Heron and Vitruvius as well as on the two specimens of Hydravlis discovered in the excavations at Dion of Olympus and Aquincum of Hungary respectively. It is the first polyphonic keyboard in history, the ancestor of the present ecclesiastical organ. It was built in Alexandria by Ctesivius (3rd century B.C.) considered as the founder of the School of Alexandrian Engineers (Museum) and father of the “Pneumatike”, i.e. the science that deals with air (pneuma) and its uses. He is best known for three achievements: the depressing suction pump, the hydraulic clock, and the hydraulic musical instrument. With a long and continuous presence (Ancient Roman Empire, Byzantium, Roman Catholic Church), Hydravlis and later the ecclesiastical organ contributed greatly to the formation of the great structure of Western polyphonic music.
Fidelity and use of natural materials
The attempt was to achieve the highest possible degree of accuracy in the reconstruction of musical instruments therefore a combined scientific study of all historical sources was required.
This enabled P. and M. Stefos to proceed to the most creative part of their work which was to reconstruct the instruments. They used the ancient technique and the original materials i.e. wood from fir tree, box-wood, reed, intestines for the strings, tortoise shells, leather, fish glue and wooden nails.
Actually, among the ensemble’s suggestions is that of organizing seminars on the construction of the musical instruments which would be an enchanting and creative experience, especially for the group’s younger friends.