The Workshop of Dionysus first met in Tarquinia, Italy, 20-23 November 2013. It was formed by Emiliano Li Castro, Artistic Director of the European Music Archeology Project (EMAP). Its first meeting was facilitated by Adje Both, the EMAP’s Exhibition Curator. You can view the schedule of this meeting here.

This multi-author blog was created to continue discussions online and to stimulate wider interest and participation in the revival of ancient doublepipes from musicians, instrument makers and scholars.

There are three ways you can participate:

  1. Leave a comment below any post. (You can select ‘Notify me of follow-up comments’.)
  2. Subscribe in the right-hand column to receive notification of new posts by email.
  3. If you would like to contribute a post, please contact the administrator, Barnaby Brown (siubhal@gmail.com).

The Name

The name “Workshop of Dionysus” highlights the powerful relationship between the doublepipe and Dionysus – the god who was benign to human beings and liberated them through ecstatic dancing, singing, wine, and drama. Street processions called kōmoi, with singers called kōmōidoi, were frequently accompanied by pipers called aulētai. In the Classical period, dramatic performances were staged during the Athenian festival called Dionysia in honour of the god. During this festival, the aulos could most commonly be heard accompanying choruses, both in comedies and tragedies, but also in crowd-pulling solos. In the post-Classical era, guilds of theatrical artists – singer-actors, playwrights, prop-makers, musicians – called themselves technitai Dionusou, “craftsmen of Dionysus”. Records of these guilds often mention aulētai (solo pipers), choraulai (choral pipers) and aulōidoi (singers accompanied by pipers) as members. Thus the name “Workshop of Dionysus” combines allusions to three things: discovering a beautiful unknown, the central role of the aulos in drama, and an interdisciplinary collaboration that enriches cultural life. These three aspects are essential to our group: discovering the unknown, making dramatic music, and getting highly-skilled specialists (instrument makers, performers, composers, researchers, etc.) to cooperate productively.

16 Responses to About

  1. Hi,
    Saw your excellent website. As a Ancient Greek re-enactor am trying to learn the aulos. Some progress in playing but problems with natural reeds. Not sure about fingering. Happy to discuss with your group.
    Have a Rezanka version 1 Aulos.

  2. Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve posted my thoughts on fingering at http://www.doublepipes.info/fingering. Looking forward to discussion and to sharing the learning journey with reeds!

  3. Reeds – that’s a very difficult question. If we accept that the used reed for an Aulos was “double” (I’m not sure if double reeds for the aulos is completely accepted) and that the material used was some “variant” of Arundo Donax (Giant Cane) then the problem is first is finding that variant. Do Ancient Greek texts state what reed material was used? Maybe Professor Hagel would know…
    Reeds – I struggle to make a good one and if i do they don’t seem to last long, before becoming “difficult”. The reeds I produce are too variable, which complicates my practise. If there is a good methodology to make a good reed, then I wish somebody would share it with me. For example, I start off by soaking my (Arundo Donax) reeds in distilled water until the water is clear. Is that what others do?


  4. Roger Cox says:

    I have long been interested in acquiring a double piped aulos. I first saw one at a Renaissance faire, and it was considerable smaller and more symettrical than those I’ve seen online. I’m not even certain if the performer was playing it, to be honest, but I collect instruments, mostly those that are somehwat obscure and have a dinstinctly different tone. Would the author of this article know a place I could buy a double-piped aulos?
    Thank you for your time, Sincerely,


  5. robin howell says:

    I have been researching auloi for about 35 years, and am so excited about your progress! Being an instrument/reed maker, I am trying to find any schematics of extant instruments to reproduce. Can you direct me to any sources who might be willing to share this information? I have a special interest in the instruments from Pompeii.
    I am not totally convinced that Arundo donax is exactly the right species, though it is possible to use. There are several unique species similar to A donax of varying hardness, as used, for example, for duduk reeds. The softer cane allows for a free blowing reed whilst retaining a thicker, more durable blade. Unfortunately A donax is pretty much all that is available here in North America. Do you perhaps know of any sources of Ramash from the middle east? I would love to procure some of the proper size.

  6. David says:

    I want to buy one in the US. Where can I get it?

    • robin howell says:

      Although I am in hospital, very ill. I do have instruments available. You may write directly to my email. Ask Barnaby or Callum.
      Let me know what you are looking for, and we can go from there.

      • Adrian Clarke says:

        Hi Robin!

        Thanks for your response. I left a message last week.

        Please get well soon! I will be thinking of you & your family in my prayers.

        A Clarke.

      • Adrian Clarke says:

        Also, if I can be of any assistance to you, Robin, please let me know. I live in the same geographic zone. No task is too small.
        Thoughts & prayers.
        A. Clarke.

  7. The only aulos maker I am aware of in North America is Robin Howell (http://www.robinhowell.com). If there are others, please let us know! You can hear me testing a Howell instrument here: http://www.doublepipes.info/louvre-deluxe-by-robin-howell/

    • Eugenio says:

      That email seems not to be working, does anyone know how to get in contact with the maker Howell? Is there any chance he ships to italy?

      Thanks to all,
      Eugenio B.

      • Adrian says:

        Hi Eugenio!

        I live near Robin. I called his number and left a message to see if his email is still working. His answering machine indicates his workshop is still running.


  8. Gadh Purde says:

    check out:

    we need more sounds like these in the states

  9. Sirs
    Your work is transformative and fascinating
    I did some research on an 18th century painting
    of Euterpe who I believe is playing a pair of
    idioglot Auloi
    Here is my article. In it, I also translate a phrase
    bye the late Roman poet Ausonios, who elegantly describes
    Euterpe playing the “sweet-sounding cane”
    “Dulciloquos calamos Euterpe flatibus urget”
    “Euterpe pushes forth, with her breathing, the sweet-speaking cane reed”


    Were there idioglot and heteroglot Auloi ?
    Thank you for your expertise
    Vincent de Luise MD

  10. Jeff says:

    I like to hear about your progress! Best regards jeff

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