The lute first appeared on Crete in Venetian times. On account of its large sound box it is mainly used to accompany other instruments, and is played throughout the island. It is also encountered in other parts of Greece, though tuned in a different way.

Over the years various changes have been made to the size and shape of the lute. Nowadays it is also used as a lead instrument, but more often accompanies the lyra or fiddle.

At Rethymnon High School (lute player Baxevanis and lyre player Rodinos are visible), 1929 (Ioannis M. Tzanis Collection)
Miniature of Erotocritos playing the lute, from an 18th century edition of the work, 1710 (The British Museum, London)
Cretan musicians playing the lyra and the lute
The lute is one of the most popular instruments on Crete
Lute from the first half of the 20th century
Lute, 2007 (Yiannis Harkoutsis)