Cretan Musical Instruments

Traditional Cretan instruments are divided into two groups, string and wind instruments.

String instruments

The basic and most important instrument for Cretan music. Lyra is not only an instrument, but a strong symbol of cultural identity. It is strongly connected to the traditional figure of the brave and rebellious Cretan man, dressed in black, bearing the black handkerchief around the head, a symbol of the sacrifices of the Cretan folk. Lyra is sometimes replaced by the violin.

Laouto (lute)
Laouto is the known Lute but a little bigger, with four pairs of chords that accompanies lyra. Sometimes it is used as a soloist instrument.

It was introduced by the Venetians and is very popular all over the island, but is not as important as the lyra and the laouto.

Wind instruments


It is a kind of klarinet, known as the shepherds' instrument and it is usually made by them. It varies in sizes and it is a simple cane tube with holes.

This is an instrument similar to the bagpipes made of goat skin. It is seldom used these days.