Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources




Scientific Supervisor: Alexandra Goulaki-Voutira

Tel.: +30 2310 991823


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The Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources was founded in 1996 by Univ.-professor Alexandra Goulaki-Voutira as an independent workshop, that supported both courses and research on the field of Musical Iconography in the Department of Music Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. It was soon established as an autonomous research project and received funds from the University and other institutions.

The Archive aims at the collection, documentation and cataloguing of images and literary sources related to Greek music, dance and performing arts (to the extent that they involve music) from antiquity to modern times. By using interdisciplinary cataloguing methods and systematization criteria combined with the use of digital technology, the Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources aims to render its data accessible to wider audiences and to promote cooperation between scholars of different fields, thus allowing for the development of new approaches on the research of Greek music. Moreover, cooperation and exchange of information and data between cataloguing centres has always been one of the Archive’s foremost aspirations.

The Archive’s digital database, MITOS, was designed according to the material’s special cataloguing requirements. The structure and search engine of the digital database allows for individualized searches using a wide variety of search criteria concerning, on one hand, the object on which music representation has been depicted and, on the other, the representation’s iconographical and musical parameters such as theme, context, musical instruments, musicians and dancers involved etc.

The Archive of Music Iconography and digital database MITOS was presented in the International Conference organized in Dion (Pieria) by the Study Group for Musical Iconography of the International Council for Traditional Music (UNESCO) and the School of Music Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki entitled Music Iconography in the Mediterranean from 300 B.C. until 300 A.D.  (1998) as well as in the conference Les Images de la Musique – outils documentaires, méthodes, resultants. Atelier Thématique de Formation organized by the Centre d’ Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours (France). 

Since 2007 the cataloguing principals and use of MITOS, the Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources’ digital database, was the main subject of the course History of the Fine Arts:  Musical Iconography: A new model in musical research (Conditions – Aims - Applications). MITOS was also used as a research tool by undergraduate students of the Department of Music Studies during the course Aspects of the history of music: Musical Iconography of Ancient Greece. 



Since the year 2002 the Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources has been engaged in a number of parallel activities. Some highlights are:

I. Research projects

2003 Images of Music - A cultural Heritage”. A research project, under the general scientific supervision of Tilmann Seebass (Institut für Musicwissenschaft, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck),  co-financed by the European Union (Culture-2000 program). The project’s main objective was the joining of seven countries in a single network aiming to promote documentation and cataloguing of images with musical subject matter. The project concluded with the preparation of three online virtual exhibitions of musical iconography using pilot material from all participating archives under the titles: Sacred Music - Image and Reality, Rhythm in Music and Dance and Musical Myths - from Antiquity to Modern Times coordinated by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, the  Archive of Musical Iconography and Literary Sources and the Centre d’ Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance of the University of Tours respectively. These exhibitions were accessible on the Internet in seven languages (English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek) and published in CD-ROM. 

2005-2009Greek Musical Instruments”. Research project resulting in the creation of a digital database of iconographic and literary material (accessible since February 2010 in the veniews of the Piraeus Bank Cultural Foundation) and the preparation of a volume examining the form and presence of Greek musical instruments from antiquity to the end of the post-byzantine era using iconographic and literary sourced (published in December 2012, see below).

II. Conferences

2008Metamorphoses of Orpheus - Musical Images from Greek Mythology in Antiquity and their Revivals in European Art.” In cooperation with the Department of Music Studies of the Ionian University the Archive of Musical Iconography organised in Corfu (Ionian Academy, June 26-29) an International Conference of Musical Iconography for the members of the Study Group for Musical Iconography in European Art of the International Musicological Society (IMS).

III. Exhibitions

2013 Music Education and Democracy in Classical Athens. Thessaloniki Concert Hall, opening 27/02-21/06. 

2012 Music Education and Democracy in Classical Athens. Athens, Foundation of the Hellenic Parliement, 01/03 – 01/2013. Exhibition of iconographic material with commentary, casts, recostrunctions of ancient musical instruments (P. Stefos), and digital powerpoint presentations. The exhibition is complemented by an illustrated catalogue.

2006 Mozart 250 years. Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 05/11 - 18/11. Exhibition of iconographic material with commentary concerning the life and work of W.A. Mozart.

2005 Exhibition of the Collection of Greek Musical Instruments of the Department of Music Studies, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. With a generous funding by the Piraeus Bank Cultural Foundation the Archive of Musical Iconography was able to create a small exhibition in the Department of Music Studies housing its collection of Greek musical instruments.

2003 Gifts of the Muses. Echoes of Music and Dance from Greece. Cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture for the realisation of the exhibition featuring an important number of archaeological material relevant to ancient Greek music, dance and the theatre. The exhibition opened in Brussels in 2003 and travelled to Berlin and Athens Megaron Concert Hall (2004). Its luxurious catalogue appeared in five languages (French, English, Flemish, German and Greek).

2002 Music in classical Greece in cooperation with the Friends of Melina Merkouri Foundation. Exhibition of iconographic material within the context of the Days of Expression and Creation festival in Thessaloniki. Following its successful opening the exhibition toured in many cities in Greece and abroad (Cyprus, Ukraine).

2001 Carmen. Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 25/10-13/11. Exhibition of iconographic material with commentary from historical productions of the opera.

IV. Publications

2012 Greek Musical Instruments. Inquiries into Art and Literature (2000 BC-2000 AD). An illustrated volume with papers from A. Barker, G. Currie, St. Hagel, E. Poehlmann, M. Raffa, T. Seebass, M. Alexandrou, M. Voutsa, A. Goulaki Voutira, Ε. Sotiroudi και A. Roumpi. The preparation of this volume was financed by the Piraeus Bank Cultural Foundation (research project: Greek Musical Instruments, 2005-2009) and the publication was realized with the generus funding of the Foundation "Maria Callas Scholarships ".

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