Learn how to play The Ancient Kithara!

4 simple lessons with the most well-known ancient lyre player around the world, Michael Levy…

 

The Only Online Series of Lessons
on How to Play an Ancient Greek Kithara!

This series of online lessons was prepared by Michael Levy for Luthieros Workshop, using our 9strings version of the “Kithara of the Golden Age”.

According to Michael, “The beautifully recreated replica ancient Greek kithara I am playing, was handmade in modern Greece by the dedicated Lutherios team, as the result of painstaking research in also recreating the highly advanced 2500 year old vibrato mechanism of the ancient Greek kithara. Overwhelming visual evidence of this advanced spring vibrato mechanism can be found in countless ancient illustrations of the kithara, which clearly show inverted ‘U’ shaped spring-like structures below the yoke of the kithara, complete with a balancing mechanism of weights above the springs – presumably to precisely balance the upward push of the springs against the downward pull of the strings.”

 


Lesson 1

The Basics!

This is the first in a series of ‘online kithara lessons’, demonstrating how to use the ancient kithara playing technique of ‘string blocking’ (dampening specific strings to strum open chords), which I used to accompany the vocal lines in the first track of my new album to feature the Luthieros replica kithara, named Odysseus and the Sirens.

 

Quoting from Wikipedia:

“In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn;Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island…”


Lesson 2

The Ancient Greek Modes

This video demonstrates how by a simple re-tuning of just 2 strings on this wonderful 9-string replica of the ancient Greek Kithara of Classical antiquity, it is possible to play all of the ancient Greek musical modes….

“With holy voice I call the stars [Astron] on high, pure sacred lights and genii of the sky.
Celestial stars, the progeny of Night [Nyx], in whirling circles beaming far your light,
Refulgent rays around the heav’ns ye throw, eternal fires, the source of all below.
With flames significant of Fate ye shine, and aptly rule for men a path divine.”

– 6th Orphic Hymn, “To The Stars (Astron)”


Lesson 3

Tuning to Just Intonation

This video demonstrates how to tune the kithara to the ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode in just intonation, in preparation for learning the 2000 year old “Epitaph of Seikilos” in the next few lessons..

“I will sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus and much the mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Cronos had lain with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife.

– Homeric Hymn to Hercules The Lion Hearted


Lesson 4

The Epitaph of Seikilos

This video demonstrates how to accompany the famous ancient Greek song, “Epitaph of Seikilos” on the kithara – discovered inscribed in the alphabetical musical notation of ancient Greece on an ancient Greek burial stone, this 2000 year old song is the only complete piece of music to have survived from antiquity.

 


Lesson 5

The Epitaph of Seikilos

“This video demonstrates how to begin to play the famous ancient Greek song, “Epitaph of Seikilos” on the kithara – discovered inscribed in the alphabetical musical notation of ancient Greece on an ancient Greek burial stone, this 2000 year old song is the only complete piece of music to have survived from antiquity.”


Lesson 6

Block and strum

“This video demonstrates another ‘block and strum’ technique which can be used add rhythm to a solo performance of the famous ancient Greek song, “Epitaph of Seikilos” on the kithara – discovered inscribed in the alphabetical musical notation of ancient Greece on an ancient Greek burial stone, this 2000 year old song is the only complete piece of music to have survived from antiquity.”


Lesson 7

Final lesson

 

Lesson 7:

This final video in this series demonstrates a wide range of possible improvisatory techniques which can be applied to a solo performance of the famous 2000 year old ancient Greek song, “Epitaph of Seikilos” – discovered inscribed in the alphabetical musical notation of ancient Greece on an ancient Greek burial stone, this 2000 year old song is the only complete piece of music to have survived from antiquity.

For more sheet music to experiment with these lyre playing techniques, please also see my blog:

http://ancientlyre.com/blogs/sheet_music_for_10_string_lyre/

For personal lyre tuition on either Skype or Facebook Chat, please contact me directly:

http://ancientlyre.com/contact/

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