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SYNAULIA: Sounds, Music and Dances
of Ancient Rome and the Antiquity

L'angolo dello SCACCIAPENSIERI (italian)

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CD-DVD | Futuro Antico (it) | Sonorous Caves | The Etruscan Flutes | Synaulia, Music of Ancient Rome - vol.I e vol.II |

Il Centro del suono
has the pleasure to communicate you the exit in commerce of the prestigious
Audio CD + book with 24 pages


from Arcadia to Picass

by Walter Maioli
with the participationLuce Maioli e Nathalie van Ravenstein

CD with 12 compositions + booklet with researches 24 pages
A soundcenter production

We present, as absolute novelty, the Etruscan transverse flute and the plagiaulos
(among the first representations in the world of transverse wind instruments.)

Our music in digital format MP3 (320 kbps) or in FLAC
go to the store
To order send an email to:

The CD THE ETRUSCAN FLUTES by Walter Maioli produced by the soundcenter is currently found in sale in the bookshops of the principal Etruscan museums and archaeological areas in the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, Archaeological Museum in Florence, Volterra, Tarquinia, Cerveteri, Piombino, Baratti, Murlo, Chiusi, Cortona, Perugia.
As points of sale will also add other museums and archaeological areas on the whole national territory as the Civic Museum of Rovereto, where it is already available.

Inside the CD the book with 24 pages,
beyond the explanation of the compositions, it tells the research on:
the Etruscans, the sonorous landscape of Etruria, the flute of Pan or Syrinx,
the transverse flute and the plagiaulos, the Etruscan tibiaes and the double flute,
sonorous modes and archetypal musical scales, psycho-acoustic sounds ,
stereophonic effect on the double wind instruments,
the all integrated with over 30 images.

Here under a brief review of the research:


Extraordinary musical instrument rediscoverd and reconstructed,
in world preview, after 2000 years
by Walter Maioli

During the research that we have developed on the musical instruments of the Etruscans in the Museum Guarnacci of Volterra with the advice of Dr. Gabriele Cateni director of the Museum, is been individualized among the rare representations on the urns, because among the first ones in the world rapresenting transverse wind instruments, that are flutes and plagiaulos (a true and exceptional rediscovery, the extraordinary sound of this musical instrument reconstructed in world preview), among which an image that seems an enigmatic rebus that sees as protagonists the flute and "the listening".

Transverse flute reconstructed by the author, from the urn of Volumni, Perugia



With the Etruscan flute in alabaster, recreation of the flute present on the urn of Volumni near Perugia, reconstructed in preview by Giorgio Pecchioni on idea and indications of Walter Maioli in November 2000, we have gone to the circular grave of the Marmini and we have recorded a musical composition using the particular environmental conditions and acoustics.
Sonorous compositions dedicated to the natural Etruscan environment; as the passage from the title "at the source of the shadow of the Evening", so the passage that opens the CD recorded in the magic gulf of Exchanges in the Archaeological Park of Populonia.


Among the flutes employed by the Etruscans, those excelling all others were syringe or syrinx, that is the flute of Pan, instruments that belong to the most ancient and mythical history of the music.
The flutes of Pan that we have reconstructed in different versions, always following the iconography and the classical texts, comprehend flutes with 5, 7, 9 and 13 pipes. The materials used are the stems of the hemlock (Virgilio, Pastoral poems), but mainly the mythical Mediterranean reed (Harundo donax), as Apuleio says, mother of the sweet music, but also the wood, the terracotta, the alabaster and the metal.
The mythical flute of Pan is present among the prehistoric euro-asiatic finds (probably since the Upper Palaeolithic) and we find it at the dawn of history in Greece, in Etruria, between the Celts and the Romans, where it was the most diffused popular instrument.
Instead it is absent between the manufactured articles and the iconography of the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, where it doesn't appear before the arrival of the Greeks. Neither is it common instrument in India.
While in China we find it among the most ancient documented musical instruments and it was considered the tuner excelling all others.
Surprisingly, the instrument was already known and largely diffused in America before Christopher Columbus, this is even more surprising as not all the typologies of musical instruments were found in pre-Columbian America, for example the different string instruments, harps, cithers, lutes, were not known but only the sonorous bow was in use.
The Flute of Pan is also present in the centre and south of Africa and in some islands of the South east Asia, in Japan and in the islands of the Pacific.
Therefore, where does the flute of Pan come from? Which are its origins? Was it invented in a particular place, from where it has spread to all continents, or has it been discovered in various places and in different epochs, and what journeys has it made in time?
These thematics have fascinated musicologists, archaeologists and anthropologists that in the last century have completed research, and yet they have not always concorded. Nonetheless, the research, the comparisons and the discoveries continue.


Finally the sound of the double flutes of the famous fresco of Tarquinia

In this CD it is revealed (and heared) the mystery of the " Etruscan double flute", that of the famous fresco of Tarquinia, acquired actually in the collective imaginary and present in the paintings of all the epoches to Picasso and that we also find again in the "fantastic" as that realized by Walter Maioli for the film of Michael Hoffman "A a Midnight Summer’s Dream " with Michelle Pfeiffer.



The different types of flutes are accompanied and played in combination with percussion instruments: crotala, tintinnabulum, tympanum, lyra and cithara, set in ancient Etruscan locations in Volterra and its surroundings: the forest, the springs, the torrents, the tombs and the sea, in the marvelous Gulf of Baratti at Populonia.

This work introduces the research developed by Walter Maioli on the Etruscan flutes. Research, that through the reconstruction of musical instruments according to experimental archaeology, can finally help, not only Archaeologists and Musicians, but a wide public, to understand which are the different types of musical instruments represented in the ancient iconography and described in the classical texts; instruments entered in the mythical imaginary as the etruscan double flute that is represented in all the epoches up until Picasso and beyond.
These instruments are confused with others, stereotyped, described and named almost always incorrectly even in scientific publications and, above all, they have never been heard!
This research also reveals little-considered aspects on ancient instruments, such as the deep symbolic and psychoacoustic value of the sounds that they produce.

Our music in digital format MP3 (320 kbps) or in FLAC
go to the store
To order send an email to:

Il Centro del Suono, founded by Walter Maioli, Luce Maioli, Nathalie van Ravenstein manages a collection with thousand of musical instruments from the nature, prototypes and reconstructions of prehistory and of the antiquity for concerts, theater, performances, experimental archaeology, installations and sounds for museums video, film and web.

From 30 years Walter Maioli represents a fundamental point at international level regarding:
The SOUND and the MUSIC OF THE ANTIQUITY reconstructing hundreds of musical instruments from the Prehistory, Mesopotamic, Etruscan, imperial Roman and the Egyptian epoch.
Artist and researcher of prehistoric naturalistic art and indigenous cultures, expert in paleorganologist (the origins of the musical instruments) and in music and experimental archaeology, composer, flutist and percussionist. Precursor of the world music, of the sounds of the Nature, the prehistory and of the antiquity.
He has realized hundreds of concerts with the "Sounds of Prehistory" and recently with the group SYNAULIA, founded and directed by him, introducing the musical instruments of the classical antiquity. Author of books among which:
Walter Maioli, "The Origins: The sound and the music" - Jaca Book, Milan 91

SYNAULIA develops from 1995 an intense activity of performances, participating in dozens of demonstrations of experimental archaeology in Holland, in the parc Archeon, in the museums of Leiden and Amsterdam, in Germany in the museums and amphitheatres of Munchen, Trier, Xanten, Aalen, Berlin, Bonn, Bad Gogging, Mainz, Rosenheim. In Spain, Portugal and in Hungary.
Participates to prestigious reviews of classical music and develops concerts in museum environments and archaeological sites in different Italian cities among which Pompeii, Villa Adriana, Albano, Fiesole, Sutri, Urbisaglia, Corfinio, Matelica, Villa Dose, Fiuggi, Volterra, Populonia, Vulci, Murlo, Vetulonia.
In Rome, in the Campidoglio, in 1996 the CD “SYNAULIA Vol. 1 Wind and Percussion Instruments”,
edit by the Amiata Records was presented.
Concerts and performances in particular places as the Mausoleum of August, the Markets of Traiano, the Thermal Baths of Diocleziano, Villa of Adriano, Villa of Livia, The Imperial Forum, The Circus of Massenzio, Ostia Antica, Preneste.
Collaborations to documentaries and scientific programs, BBC, CNN, Japanese tv, Discovery Channel.
For the BBC- radio, they have been recorded the trumpets in the amphitheatre Flavio, the Colosseum.
From 1999 they started a collabotation with the great Italian actor
Giorgio Albertazzi that wants them at his side for two different shows.
They appear under the dresses of Nymphs and Satyrs with their arkadic instruments in the film “A Midsummer Night Dream “
by Michael Hoffman interpreted by Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline.
Two compositions from the CD SYNAULIA Vol. 1° were chosen for Ridley Scott’s spectacular film " The Gladiator".
It’s recently gone out in commerce the second CD "SYNAULIA Vol.2°- String instruments" edit by the Amiata records.