Popular Song in 19th-Century Greece

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The Greek musical culture of the 19th century developed under only partially formed political and social conditions, within an area of new ethnic states, the borders of which were as yet not fully defined. The “new” Greece was a nexus for the meeting of different musical cultures, with different origins, ancient and modern, western and eastern, polyphonic, monophonic and pentaphonic, traditional and urban. The Modern Greek state, which was formed gradually, from 1830 until the first decades of the 20th century, could boast of a new Greek musical culture, the product of intense cultural gestation, which involved a multiplicity of local musical idioms. This chapter investigates popular song in 19th century Greece, which lies within a quite broad intermediate band between art and traditional musical creation. It aims to present different manifestations of urban popular song in the Greek 19th c., some of which develop outside the borders of the Greek state proper, as delimited after its independence from Ottoman rule. It discusses different genres, such as phanariot songs, oriental songs from Constantinople, Smyrna and Ioannina, heptanesian cantadas, Athenian light songs. All of the above genres appeared and flourished before the development of discography in Greece.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPopular Song in the 19th Century
EditorsDerek B. Scott
Place of PublicationTurnhout
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9782503600789
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Music
  • performing arts
  • musicology
  • Modern Greek Studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Popular music
  • Nineteenth century studies


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