As observed, Cretan music is an amalgam of many component strands. The position of the island at the crossroads between East and West has ensured that its music embraces a variety of idioms in an active manner so that it remains unique and special.
In it one can detect the ancient metres and rhythms, Oriental and even Renaissance influences. Music remains an important and integral part in the lives of the islanders: they practice it, listen to it, dance to it and sing it - even today!
Music was around on the island of Crete in prehistoric times, and has gone on evolving to the present – whilst retaining all the elements of its original nature: it is one of the most ‘pure’ expressions in Greece, and indeed in all Europe. On Crete and its musics, very many past scholars and artists have voiced their opinions, demonstrating the value and significance of music in the distant past.
Following on the Classical and Roman eras, the rich musical life of the island became liturgical in the Byzantine period. The sound of the island’s music is affected, as is only natural, by the religious hymns of the Byzantines – slowly Byzantine musical metres began to emerge. Thus Crete was linked even more to the musical world of the East.
After the departure of the Turks from the island, the Cretan people felt free once more – and full of drive and opportunities to push forward on all fronts – amongst them music. They were not starting from scratch, as the passing centuries had left a huge musical heritage.