Aulos
Overview
An aulos or tibia (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) was an ancient Greek wind instrument
Wind instrument
A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator , in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into a mouthpiece set at the end of the resonator. The pitch of the vibration is determined by the length of the tube and by manual modifications of...

, depicted often in art
Greek art
Greek art began in the Cycladic and Minoan prehistorical civilization, and gave birth to Western classical art in the ancient period...

 and also attested by archaeology
Classical archaeology
Classical archaeology is the archaeological investigation of the great Mediterranean civilizations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Nineteenth century archaeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann were drawn to study the societies they had read about in Latin and Greek texts...

.

An aulete was the musician who performed on an aulos. The ancient Roman equivalent was the tibicen (plural tibicines), from the Latin tibia, "pipe, aulos." The neologism aulode is sometimes used by analogy with rhapsode
Rhapsode
A rhapsode or, in modern usage, rhapsodist, refers to a classical Greek professional performer of epic poetry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC . Rhapsodes notably performed the epics of Homer but also the wisdom and catalogue poetry of Hesiod and the satires of Archilochus and others...

and citharode (citharede) to refer to an aulos player, who may also be called an aulist.
There were several kinds of auloi.
Encyclopedia
An aulos or tibia (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) was an ancient Greek wind instrument
Wind instrument
A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator , in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into a mouthpiece set at the end of the resonator. The pitch of the vibration is determined by the length of the tube and by manual modifications of...

, depicted often in art
Greek art
Greek art began in the Cycladic and Minoan prehistorical civilization, and gave birth to Western classical art in the ancient period...

 and also attested by archaeology
Classical archaeology
Classical archaeology is the archaeological investigation of the great Mediterranean civilizations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Nineteenth century archaeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann were drawn to study the societies they had read about in Latin and Greek texts...

.

An aulete was the musician who performed on an aulos. The ancient Roman equivalent was the tibicen (plural tibicines), from the Latin tibia, "pipe, aulos." The neologism aulode is sometimes used by analogy with rhapsode
Rhapsode
A rhapsode or, in modern usage, rhapsodist, refers to a classical Greek professional performer of epic poetry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC . Rhapsodes notably performed the epics of Homer but also the wisdom and catalogue poetry of Hesiod and the satires of Archilochus and others...

and citharode (citharede) to refer to an aulos player, who may also be called an aulist.

Types

There were several kinds of auloi. A single pipe without a reed
Reed (instrument)
A reed is a thin strip of material which vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. The reeds of most Woodwind instruments are made from Arundo donax or synthetic material; tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics.-Single reeds:Single reeds are used on the mouthpieces of clarinets...

 was called the monaulos (μόναυλος, from μόνος "single"). A single pipe held horizontally, as the modern flute, was the plagiaulos (πλαγίαυλος, from πλάγιος "sideways"). The most common variety must have been a reed instrument. Archeological finds, surviving iconography and other evidence indicate that it was usually double-reeded, like an oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

, although simple variants with a single clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

-type reed cannot be ruled out.

Though aulos is often erroneously translated as "flute", it was a reed instrument, and its sound — described as "penetrating, insisting and exciting" — was more akin to that of the bagpipes
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

, with a chanter
Chanter
The chanter is the part of the bagpipe upon which the player creates the melody. It consists of a number of finger-holes, and in its simpler forms looks similar to a recorder...

 and (modulated) drone
Drone (music)
In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece. The word drone is also used to refer to any part of a musical instrument that is just used to produce such an effect.-A musical effect:A drone...

. Like the Great Highland Bagpipe
Great Highland Bagpipe
The Great Highland Bagpipe is a type of bagpipe native to Scotland. It has achieved widespread recognition through its usage in the British military and in pipe bands throughout the world. It is closely related to the Great Irish Warpipes....

, the aulos might have been used for martial music
Military band
A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

, but it is more frequently depicted in other social settings. It accompanied physical activities such as wrestling matches, the broad jump, the discus throw and to mark the rowing cadence on trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

s, as well as sacrifices and dramas. Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 associates it with the ecstatic cults of Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 and the Korybantes
Korybantes
The Corybantes were the armed and crested dancers who worshipped the Phrygian goddess Cybele with drumming and dancing. They are also called the Kurbantes in Phrygia, and Corybants in an older English transcription. The Kuretes were the nine dancers who venerate Rhea, the Cretan counterpart of...

, banning it from his Republic
Republic (Plato)
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man...

 but reintroducing it in "Laws".

It appears that some variants of the instrument were loud, shrill, and therefore very hard to blow. A leather strap, called a phorbeiá (φορβεία) in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 or capistrum in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, was worn by the auletai to avoid excessive strain on the lips and cheeks due to continuous blowing. Aulus players are sometimes depicted with puffed cheeks. The playing technique almost certainly made use of circular breathing
Circular breathing
Circular breathing is a technique used by players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. This is accomplished by breathing in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks.It is used extensively in playing...

, very much like the Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

n launeddas
Launeddas
The launeddas is a typical Sardinian woodwind instrument, consisting of three pipes. It is polyphonic and played using circular breathing. An ancient instrument, dating back to at least the 8th century BC, launeddas are still played during religious ceremonies and dances...

 which would give the aulos a continuous sound.

Although aristocrats with sufficient leisure sometimes practiced aulos-playing as they did the lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

, after the later fifth century the aulos became chiefly associated with professional musicians, often slaves. Nevertheless, such musicians could achieve fame. The Romano-Greek writer Lucian
Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature.His ethnicity is disputed and is attributed as Assyrian according to Frye and Parpola, and Syrian according to Joseph....

 discusses aulos playing in his dialogue Harmonides, in which Alexander the Great's aulete Timo­theus discusses fame with his pupil Harmonides. Timotheus advises him to impress the experts within his profession rather than seek popular approval in big public venues. If leading musicians admire him, popular approval will follow. However, Lucian reports that Harmonides died from excessive blowing during practicing.

Mythic origin

In myth, Marsyas
Marsyas
In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas is a central figure in two stories involving music: in one, he picked up the double flute that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life...

 the satyr
Satyr
In Greek mythology, satyrs are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus — "satyresses" were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing....

 was supposed to have invented the aulos, or else picked it up after Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 had thrown it away because it caused her cheeks to puff out and ruined her beauty. In any case, he challenged Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 to a musical contest, where the winner would be able to "do whatever he wanted" to the loser - Marsyas's expectation, typical of a satyr, was that this would be sexual in nature. But Apollo and his lyre beat Marsyas
Marsyas
In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas is a central figure in two stories involving music: in one, he picked up the double flute that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life...

 and his aulos. And since the pure lord of Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

's mind worked in different ways than Marsyas's, he celebrated his victory by stringing his opponent up from a tree and flaying
Flaying
Flaying is the removal of skin from the body. Generally, an attempt is made to keep the removed portion of skin intact.-Scope:An animal may be flayed in preparation for human consumption, or for its hide or fur; this is more commonly called skinning....

 him alive. King Midas
Midas
For the legend of Gordias, a person who was taken by the people and made King, in obedience to the command of the oracle, see Gordias.Midas or King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This was called the Golden touch, or the...

 got donkey's ears for judging Apollo as the lesser player. Marsyas' blood and the tears of the Muses formed the river Marsyas in Asia Minor.

This tale was a warning against committing the sin of "hubris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

", or overwhelming pride, in that Marsyas thought he might win against a god. Strange and brutal as it is, this myth reflects a great many cultural tensions that the Greeks expressed in the opposition they often drew between the lyre and aulos: freedom vs. servility and tyranny, leisured amateurs vs. professionals, moderation (sophrosyne
Sophrosyne
Sophrosyne is a Greek philosophical term etymologically meaning healthy-mindedness and from there self-control or moderation guided by knowledge and balance....

) vs. excess, etc. Some of this is a result of 19th century AD "classical interpretation", i.e. Apollo versus Dionysus, or "Reason" (represented by the kithara) opposed to "Madness" (represented by the aulos). In the temple to Apollo at Delphi, there was also a shrine to Dionysus, and his Maenads are shown on drinking cups playing the aulos, but Dionysus is sometimes shown holding a kithara
Kithara
The kithara or cithara was an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre or lyra family. In modern Greek the word kithara has come to mean "guitar" ....

 or lyre. So a modern interpretation can be a little more complicated than just simple duality.
It should be noted, however, that this opposition is mostly an Athenian one. We might surmise that things were different at Thebes, which was a center of aulos-playing. And we know that at Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 – which had no Bacchic or Korybantic cults to serve as contrast – the aulos was actually associated with Apollo, and accompanied the hoplites into battle.

Modern use

The sounds of the aulos are being digitally recreated by the Ancient Instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application (ASTRA) project who use Physical modeling synthesis to simulate the aulos sounds. Due to the complexity of this process the ASTRA project uses grid computing to model sounds on hundreds of computers throughout Europe simultaneously.

The aulos is part of the Lost Sounds Orchestra, alongside other ancient instruments which ASTRA have recreated the sounds of, including the epigonion
Epigonion
An epigonion was an ancient stringed instrument mentioned in Athenaeus , probably a psaltery. The epigonion was invented, or at least introduced into Greece, by Epigonus of Ambracia, a Greek musician of Ambracia in Epirus, who was admitted to citizenship at Sicyon as a recognition of his great...

, the salpinx
Salpinx
A salpinx was a trumpet-like instrument of the ancient Greeks. -Construction:The salpinx consisted of a straight, narrow bronze tube with a mouthpiece of bone and a bell of variable shape and size; extant descriptions describe conical, bulb-like, and spherical structures...

, the barbiton
Barbiton
The barbiton, or barbitos , is an ancient stringed instrument known from Greek and Roman classics related to the lyre...

 and the syrinx.

Twig the Fairy
Twig the Fairy
Twig Oaklyn Flewinia Thistlebottom, better known as Twig the Fairy, is a fairy character at Renaissance fairs around the United States. A "charmer of children", Twig entertains passers-by with jigs and airs played on a double-piped aulos. She occasionally offers a glass stone glittering with...

, a mimed fairy character at Renaissance fairs around the United States, entertains passers-by with jigs and airs played on a double-piped aulos.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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