Museum of Popular Instruments - Research Centre for Ethnomusicology


Museum Type Food, Fashion & Music
City Athens
Address 1-3, Diogenous Str., Plaka
Postal Code 105 56
Telephone210-3250198, 210-3254119, 210-3254129
Fax 210-3250198
Email ival@atlas.uoa.gr

Museum Description

The Museum of Popular Instruments - Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (MELMOKE) comprises the collection of about 1200 Greek popular musical instruments dating from the 18th century to the present day, the fruit of a half century of research and study by the musicologist Fivos Anoyanakis. The Museum is housed in the historical Lassanis Mansion, which was built in 1842 close to the Roman Agora.

The main building of the Lassanis Mansion contains, apart from the exhibition space, the reception area, the Director's office, the secretariat and the library of the Museum (also donated by Fivos Anoyanakis). The out-building is converted into an annex that now houses the Research Centre and the archives, storerooms, a hall of lectures, educational programms and seminars, and the Museum shop. In the garden of the Museum are given recitals of Greek traditional music.

About half of the instruments forming the Anoyanakis Collection are on public display. They have been selected on the criterion not only of their aesthetic and decorative value but, in particular, of their ethnological and musicological interest. The remaining instruments are available for research and for travelling exhibitions to be held in schools etc and for occasional exhibitions of a special nature.

The permanent exhibition is spread over three floors and divided into four sections, corresponding to the groups of determined by the material that is made to vibrate in order to produce sound, namely:

- Membranophones (ground floor): Toumbelekia (pottery drums),
daoulia (drums), defia (tambourines)

- Aerophones (ground floor): Flogeres - souravlia - mandoures (flutes)
tsabounes, gaides (bagpipes), zournades (shawms)

- Chordophones (first floor): Tambourades, laghouta (long-necked lutes)
outia (short-necked lutes), quitars , mandolins, dulcimers etc

- Idiophones: koudounia (bells), massies (tongs with cymbals)
simandro (semanterion) etc.


The objects of the Museum and Research Centre, as stated in the foundation charter, are as follows:

1) The collection, maintenance and display of popular musical instruments and generally of any material contributing to the research study and furtherance of Greek musical tradition.
2) The promotion of research and study in connection with ethnomusicological subjects, in addition to the identification and dissemination of traditional music.
3) The preservation, study, projection and dissemination by all available means of Greek folk and Byzantine musical tradition, both in Greece and abroad, and
4) The creation of a special ethnomusicological and audio-visual archive.


Free admition
Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday: 10.00-14.00
Wednesday: 12.00-18.00
Monday: closed


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