Light Showers
Wind: 15 Southwest


Wind: 27 West


Wind: 06 West

Fragma Potamon

Wind: 13 West

courtesy of:

Rodakino - Agios Konstantinos

Length: 20.5 km
Estimated time: 7-8 hours
Suggested period: March - October
Difficulty: Relatively easy

Social role of Cretan Music

The expressions of traditional music in Crete and their interaction with traditional Cretan society.

Up until forty years ago, Cretan music tradition had significant interaction with Cretan society and fully covered their need for dancing and singing. Even though, this was not characterized by professionalism, knowledge on singing, dancing and music, which passes from generation to generation, created amateur musicians with passion and desire for what they did. Moreover, their passion was such that it not only overrode their moderate technique but also helped greatly with their social compassion in the areas where they acted (mainly villages).

A first characteristic of traditional Cretan entertainment - the village fair - usually took place on the village square or one of the coffee shops. Musicians (habioli, lyre or violin players) sat in the middle and people danced around them. In these fairs, whose main aim is for the villagers to enjoy themselves, "mantinades" and dancing played an important role. Thus, during the fete it was common to say "mantinades" about love, the moon, but also humoristic ones. And when these humoristic "mantinades" got out of control and began to be indecent, it was not right to tell them in the presence of women. Similarly, people avoided telling "mantinades", which praised cattle-stealing or gun owning, in public. It should also be mentioned that everybody took part in fetes (which were used as a means of expression), even elderly people, and they paid particular attention to the simplicity of movements, which symbolically stressed the solidarity between fellow people, in contrast with vivid figures, that indicated selfishness.
Another representation of traditional Crete was incarnated in the so called "company" in the village houses, where, on a saint's name day, a group of enthusiast musicians went from house to house and transfer - through singing and dancing - the fete to the whole village, beginning in the morning from the village square.

Similar to the "company" pattern, there is also the existence of the serenade. In this framework, a group of young men wandered around the village streets, accompanied by lyres or violins, and sang the love that these persons had for the young women of the village. Every serenade took place at a particular place, very close to the house of the young woman to whom it was addressed and caused various reactions by the neighbours, who usually embraced this situation in a positive way.

However, in Cretan music tradition, serenades were not the only musical expression of love feelings. The so called "face-to-face mantinades" had an explicit erotic orientation, since they practically were dialogues in the form of "mantinades" between a man and a woman. These "mantinades" were told accompanied by music while dancing or during everyday conversations and their main characteristic was the teasing between the interlocutors.lly, mention should be made to some occasions where traditional Cretan music has an important presence. Such occasions are the lullaby, bewailing, sweet talk, satirical rhymes, Holy Week carols and wedding songs, before and after it took place. Although most of these musical expressions have now faded away, these musical occasions, which became lively due to the passion and cheer of some people ("meraklides"), contributed significantly in the formation of Cretan traditional musical aesthetics and are the starting point for the study of the island's cultural individuality.