The Lyre of Lamia – Ancient Greek Lyre (Chelys – 11 strings) – Top Quality HandCrafted Musical Instrument
“So then, I will give you this lyre, glorious son of Zeus…” – Homeric Hymn to Hermes, line 490
This is a replica of the ancient Greek lyre, invented by God Hermes and attributed to Apollo, and named after Lamia of Athens, which began as a music player and later became an hetaira. Lamia’s reputation was owed to her wit and talent, and these were celebrated by the comic writers as well as the historians of the period, and many anecdotes concerning her have been preserved by Plutarch and Athenaeus. The excess and magnificence of the banquets which she gave to Demetrius I of Macedons (Demetrius the Besieger) are much discussed.
This listing is for a beautifull lyre, with its soundbox constructed by a solid piece of wood. Due to the latter, it is a unique one-of-a-kind instrument, as it is impossible to produce another exactly the same lyre. 11string lyres were questioned by many Greek philosophers (such as Plato), due to the fact that they were able to play in many different ancient modes without the need for extra tuning, and therefore to evoke a variety of feelings (from serenity to grief and then to joy).
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, the “Lyre of Lamia” is made of (and only) natural materials available during the antiquity. This ancient artefact was evolved to become a modern music instrument ready to be used by both amateur and professional musicians (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).
There are many mythological and historical accounts about the ancient greek lyre, i.e. Ovid Heroid makes the Greek god Apollo build the walls of Troy by playing on the lyre, as Amphion did the walls of Thebes. Another account states the contest that Apollo had with his son, Cinyras, who then committed suicide because of his failure to win his father. During the Middle Ages, this instrument was associated with King David, patron of music and Christ figure.
This lyre has 11 strings (combination of gut and nylon strings, another set of nylon stings are included too). The soundbox is made by lime wood shaped to produce rich sound, the arm and the crossbars are made by wenge wood, the tailpiece, the tuning keys and the bridge by ebony and maple wood, the sound-board by animal skin, and the plectrum by wood. Additionally, the skin is hand-painted with shapes and figures found in ancient amphora’s depictions. The lyre’s height is 71 cm with 50 cm width, while its soundbox dimensions are 35 x 35 x 8 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…
| 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 our website’s 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!