Ancient Greek wind instrument
A pan flute is a musical instrument composed of numerous pipes, lined in a row. The pipes are either of different length or are blocked at different points. Either way, when the musician blows across the top of the pipes, each one produces a different note. In that way, you can perform an entire melody. This musical instrument is commonly used in South America and Southeast Europe.
They are traditionally made from cane or other naturally occurring hollow tubes (such as bamboo), although they can also be carved from wood, and in the modern world, of course, synthetic versions are available. Different tube characteristics give different qualities to the sound. The length, inner shape and diameter of the tube as well as the wall thickness are of great importance. A narrow tube produces a sound with a high content of upper harmonics. On the other hand, a thick tube of the same length produces a rounded sound. The bigger the tube, the deeper the tone.
According to Greek mythology, the pan flute owes its existence to a god named Pan, the patron saint of shepherds. The story goes that Pan fell in love with the nymph Syrinx. But she did not reciprocate, so she asked Zeus to save her from the shepherd god. Zeus did so by turning her into reeds, which made Pan so angry that he smashed the reeds to bits. Of course, he was instantly filled with remorse and collected the reeds, trying to kiss them. As he did, his breath blew over them and created a melody. To honor his love, Pan named this instrument the syrinx.
The syrinx was one of the oldest and most popular instruments in ancient Greece. In fact, it seems to be about as old as Greek civilization itself. The oldest examples of it were found on the Cycladic islands as far back as the third millennium BCE. It seems to have been primarily a popular folk instrument, associated closely with the shepherds who played it while tending their flocks. However, there is some evidence that it was at times incorporated into the ensembles that provided the music for Greek theater and poetry. The syrinx was made of four to eighteen pipes, generally of different lengths. The syrinx remained popular in Greece and spread across Europe, particularly in the medieval era. In essence, all European pan flutes are derived from the syrinx. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that ancient Europeans were the only ones to develop a pan flute-like instrument. In China, this instrument was called the paixiao. The paixiao was a bamboo pan flute generally composed of 16 pipes, arranged in a semicircular shape. Perhaps the most famous non-European pan flutes, however, are those of the Andes. Andean music is strongly influenced by pan flutes to this day, which are a legacy of Inca civilization.
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