The Louvre Aulos: Playing Techniques

Whenever I am asked, “what do you study?”, and I reply “ancient Greek music”, the inevitable follow-up is “but, do we even know what it sounded like?”. My reply is often, “yes, yes we do!” (before then correcting my over-enthusiasm: there are quite a few things we don’t know). However, how an aulos could have sounded is one of the things that we can be pretty certain about, especially with the Louvre aulos replica.

Dr. Stefan Hagel, himself a modern-day aulete and kitharode, created a detailed study of the Louvre aulos that can be found below.

http://www.doublepipes.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Louvre-Aulos.pdf

On the basis of Dr. Hagel’s work, Thomas Rezanka, an Austrian bagpipe maker, produces modern, playable, replicas of the Louvre aulos (http://www.rezanka.at/indexrez.htm).

Having saved up some of my PhD funds, I thought it would be worthwhile to invest in one. Not only would it be helpful in explaining the music of the aulos to others, it would also help me to better understand the ways in which ancient authors refer to the instrument, getting me that little bit closer to the ancient mindset. And, to be honest, learning to play an instrument that was created over 2000 years ago just seemed like a pretty darned fun thing to do!

So, without further ado, here are some audio clips of me playing the Louvre aulos! They aren’t really ‘tunes’, but sound clips that show what the instrument can do.

(I will be updating the blog with a few more posts about the various techniques and difficulties of playing the instrument soon.)