The Lyre of Thamyris – the mortal to challenge the Muses – Ancient Greek Lyre (Chelys – 10 strings) – Top Quality HandCrafted Musical Instrument
“Pan son of Mercurius [Hermes] [invented] the pipe and single flute, Midas in Phrygia the slanting flute, Marsyas in the same nation the double-flute, Amphion the Lydian modes, the Thracian Thamyris the Dorian…” – Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 204 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.)
This is a replica of an ancient Greek lyre, named after Thamyris (Θάμυρης in ancient Greek), a legendary Thracian Singer who was so proud of his skill that he boasted he could challenge the Muses. He competed against them and lost. As punishment for his presumption they blinded him, and took away his ability to make poetry and to play the lyre. This outline of the story is told in the Iliad.
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, the “Lyre of Thamyris” is made of (and only) natural materials available during the antiquity. This ancient instrument 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).
This lyre has 11 strings. The soundbox is made by wood shaped to produce rich sound, the arm, the tailpiece, the crossbar, the bridge and tuning keys by maple wood, the sound-board by animal skin, and the plectrum by wood. The lyre’s braces are beautifully carved depictions of birds, with a thin layer of varnish to protect the wood and make the whole instrument even more imposing on the eye.
The lyre’s height is 68 cm with 45 cm width, while its soundbox dimensions are 35 x 33 x 9,5 cm. Last, the length of the vibrated strings is 55 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 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.
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!