The Lyre of Hermes – Ancient Greek Lyre (Chelys) – Top Quality HandCrafted Musical Instrument
“He sang the story of the deathless gods and of the dark earth, how at the first they came to be, and how each one received his portion.” – Homeric Hymn to Hermes, line 414-435
If you ever thought of having a unique ancient artefact in your home or even learn how to play an ancient music instrument invented by a God itself, then you never had an opportunity like this before… This listing is for a replica of the ancient Greek lyre invented by Hermes.
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, the “Lyre of Hermes” is made of (and only) natural materials available during the antiquity. This ancient artefact is evolved to become a modern music instrument ready to be used by music students and teachers (for example, a modern tuning method was chosen instead of the ancient hard-to-use one). For all the minor (but very important) alterations, latest technologies were used during the prototyping phase (such as 3d Scanning and 3d Modeling).
[ Update! Check how our ancient Greek lyres sound! Listen to our first recordings with virtuoso Lina Palera at https://soundcloud.com/luthieros-musicinstruments/sets/ancient-greek-lyres-recordings-by-the-lyre-20-project ]
Regarding the origins of the lyre, according to ancient Greek mythology the young god Hermes stole a herd of sacred cows from Apollo. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of them and offered all but the entrails to the gods. From the entrails he created the Lyre. Apollo was furious, but after hearing the sound of the lyre, his anger faded. He offered to trade the herd of cattle for the lyre. During the Middle Ages, this instrument was associated with King David, patron of music and Christ figure.
This lyre has 9 strings. The soundbox is made by wood manufactured to look like a genuine tortoise shell, the sound-board by animal skin, the arm, the tailpiece, the crossbar, the bridge and the tuning bulges by maple wood, and the plectrum by wood. The lyre’s height is 67 cm with 35 cm width, while its soundbox is 18 x 14 x 6 cm.
Along with every lyre, a handbook is provided including all the different ancient Greek scales (for tuning the lyre) in the Aristoxenian tradition such as the Mixolydian, the Phrygian, the Dorian etc. What’s more, the oldest music melodies that had survived are also included such as the Hellenistic “Seikilos Epitaph” (2.000 years old, the oldest known complete melody of the human kind), and further descriptions regarding what modes were used in the antiquity for evoking specific feelings such as sorrow, happiness, bravery etc. Last, a full-color 68-pages book (in the form of a .pdf file) will be given, with more than 100 photos, describing the research behind our lyres and the whole design process.
Since the beginning of 2015, every Luthieros lyre comes with a wooden plectrum, an extra set of nylon strings and a unique hand-strap (in Greek: “τελαμών”). A premium package, for a premium and authentic music instrument! A beautifully handmade premium wooden case for storing and moving around the instrument is also available here.
The lyres available for purchase are very limited. Needles to say that no animals were harmed…
“So then, I will give you this lyre, glorious son of Zeus…” – Homeric Hymn to Hermes, line 490
| Learn how to play the ancient Greek lyre!
Michael Levy, the most well-known ancient lyre player around the world, put together for us 11 video lessons (available online at our website). No matter if you are a completely amateur or a professional music player, you can play the lyre following Michael’s steps: http://en.luthieros.com/learn-to-play-the-lyre
| Hear how our ancient lyres sound:
(1) Hear how the “Game of Thrones” theme song would sound like if it was played in Ancient Greece (must-see), hear audio recordinga from various of our lyres, or watch players around the world playing ancient melodies with Luthieros Music Instruments: http://en.luthieros.com/be-inspired-by-players-around-the-world
(2) Check the latest music album by world-known lyre player, Michael Levy, using Luthieros’ Lyre of Apollo! Support his music on iTunes or his website: http://www.ancientlyre.com/
| Check a short presentation of “The Lyre 2.0 Project”:
https://vimeo.com/85653759 (in English)
| Read the extended review of one of our lyres by the most well-known ancient lyre player around the world: http://www.ancientlyre.com/the_lyre_20_project/
* Dozens of music stringed instruments around the world are direct descendants of the ancient Greek lyre: gue (Scotland), rote (England), crwth (Wales), hearpe (Germanic or Anglo-Saxon lyre), giga (Norway), talharpa (Estonia), jouhikko (Finland), knar (Armenia), lutnia (Poland), kinnor (Israel), sarangi (Nepal), sammu or tanbura or zami or zinar (Iraq, Arabian peninsula, Yemen), barbat or ektara (Pakistan), ektara (India and Bangladesh), nares-jux (Siberia), chang (Iran), kissar or tanbura or simsimiyya (Egypt, Sudan), begena or dita or krar (Ethiopia), endongo or ntongoli (Uganda), kibugander or litungu or nyatiti or obokano (Kenya) and litungu (Tanzania).
** Minor alterations might be present in the final instrument (regarding the colour or the kind of wood that was used for smaller parts) that you will receive in comparison with the images. For this reason, every instrument from the Luthieros team is undoubtedly unique. In case though you want the exact model that was photographed, please state it during the checkout! 🙂