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Concert Music Review

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Concert Music Review
I attended the Greek Music Festival because it was the culture and genre of music that I knew the least about. The music, culture, dances, and food was amazing and very interesting. Did I mention the food? The food was some of the best food I have had. I learned that a gyro is not how we “Americans” would say it. It is pronounced yi-ro and they were very quick to correct me on my pronunciation. This was a very fun and free style of festival and I enjoyed my experience. The music that caught my ear the most was the Greek folk songs that were performed. The overall rhythm was free and as I have learned this rhythm tends to attract me. Greek folk music is said to have come from the ancient Greeks. It was played for spiritual and ceremonial reasons. Music has been always been an important part of the Greek culture. Greeks would begin educating their children in music as early as six years old. There are two main movements in the folk music development of Greece. There is the Acritic and the Klephtic songs. The Acritic songs were performed by the body guards of the Byzantine Empire; and the Klephtic songs were performed by the warriors against the Ottoman Empire. The main style that I could decipher was the Klephtic style of song. The music was monophonic and used no harmonic accompaniment. Meaning, the voice or voices were in unison and in the same pitch and in the same rhythm.

But, although the pitch was the same the instrumental was very free with several different instruments. It reminded me of almost a chant style of music, but the instruments gave it an almost Irish feel. The second style of music that I heard was Byzantine Greek music. Which was chanting and rightfully so originated in the Greek Orthodox Church which is where the festival was held at. The music was once again a chanting style of music but did not have instrumental accompaniment. It also encompassed the monophonic vocal style. This reminded me of the recitations I heard as a kid at my Catholic Church. This is the oldest style of Greek music and the one that is known the most about. It was usually two men performing and sung in a deep octave with a backup singer singing in a higher octave. To me it seemed as if they were using call and response throughout most of the pieces. The deeper octave male would sing and then once he stopped the higher octave male would chime in and they would alternate in a systematic fashion.

This was not a free style of music but was undoubtedly beautiful. As the performers would sing you could sense the passion in their voice but also see in their expressions. I had never seen this style of music performed and the building created for a great acoustic environment. This style of music was used for ceremonial, festival, and church music. My experience overall was great. Before attending the festival I did some research so that I would at least have a small basis of knowledge as to what I was hearing and seeing. The music at times was metric and times were nonmetric. The chanting style of the Byzantine music took me back to my child hood of hearing my pastor recite the passages of the bible to us. It was very humbling experience. The food, dances, and church sanctuary was beautiful and intriguing. I am glad that I chose to attend this festival because it was the style and culture that I knew the least about. But, now I can at least say that I have some knowledge and respect for Greek music and culture.

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