Labyrinth Musical Workshop: Seminar on Modal Guitar by Theodora Athanassiou

24-29 June 2019
Workshop on Modal Guitar @Labyrinth (Houdetsi, Crete)

In this course, participants will be part of a creative music team, open to all instruments, fretted and fretless, that mainly belong in “the family of Lutes”.

The concept:

It all starts with a question familiar to all musicians from Greece and around, who are deeply influenced by and involved in music traditions of the Middle East. And the question is… East or West?

Especially in the case of fretted lute-wise instruments, there is a kind of an “off the record forbiddance” in the performance of repertoires with an eastern way of playing.

And what a great paradox is a fact that Greek discography has profound similar mixes of instruments in orchestras. An oud and a Kanun playing together in harmony with a guitar, a mandolin, a piano, and a Santour…

To take it a bit further, this course is a result of the need to find a contemporary way of creating and communicating through music, while looking in the past and into the music idioms that opened the way to nowadays music.

So, starting with a guitar, an instrument that has been a significant part of almost all the music idioms of Balkans and the wider Mediterranean area, this seminar will focus on this. To be the creative answer on how fretted and fretless instruments can interact in an orchestra playing eastern music from the past with a contemporary twist.

Main Angles:

Discovering the role and the importance f each instrument in an orchestra

Interpretation of Makam melody types and melody lines

Fretless intervals adapted to fretted instruments.

Companion as an integral part of the orchestration

The presence of harmony / the use of relatives without 3rd step / the use of altered chords / the isocratic

Rhythmic patterns and improvisation

Old melodic and rhythmic motifs as the main essence of modern compositions


Compositions and urban tunes from the Middle war era, from the urban folk song of the Interwar period, the traditions of the Aegean coast of Anatolia and the wider region of East, Ottoman music, Balkans, as well as contemporary compositions.


Basic knowledge on the instrument of your choice

Teamwork attitude and experimental mood

Up to new ideas for orchestration and with an open mind for music

Reading a score is not essential but it will be more than welcome

For Registrations & Information click here