Phorminx (7 or 9 strings) – ancient lyre-type instrument with vibrato mechanism
650.00 € – 725.00 €
“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
This is a “Phorminx”, an advanced string instrument invented by the Ancient Greeks able to produce vibrato and tremolo effects while it is played.
The phorminx (in Ancient Greek φόρμιγξ) was one of the oldest ancient Greek stringed musical instruments, intermediate between the lyre and the ancient cithara (or kithara). It consisted of two to seven strings, richly decorated arms and a crescent-shaped sound box. It almost probably originated from Mesopotamia. While it seems to have been common in Homer’s day, accompanying the rhapsodes, it was supplanted in historical times by the seven-stringed kithara. Despite being a descendant of the lyre and a forefather of ancient cithara, it was the first ancient instrument that ancient Greeks introduced a basic spring mechanism for a richer sound and a “sweet” vibrato effect.
Manufactured at the premises of the ancient Europos (Northern Greece) by a family of musicians and luthiers, this artifact is made of (and only) natural materials available during the antiquity. This ancient artifact 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).
With Each Order You Will Receive
In the unlikely event of defects in materials or workmanship.
A detailed report about the materials, the exact dimensions, and manufacturing details, signed by our master luthiers, Anastasios and Jordan Koumartzis.
Worldwide delivery with package tracking at any given time.
40+ ancient melodies
A premium book with 40+ ancient melodies that survived throughout the millennia.
Ancient lyre music album
A music album packed with ancient lyre's recordings by some of the most talented lyre players around the world, featuring authentic ancient melodies and modern compositions.
Tuning and maintenance guide
A thoughtful leaflet with guidelines for how to tune and maintain properly your unique and priceless musical instrument.
A pack of extras
Including an extra set of nylon strings (to let yourself experiment with your new instruments without worrying about snapping a string or two), a wooden plectrum and a unique hand-strap (in Greek: “τελαμών”).
Plus small gifts
Extra small gifts to say "thank you" for making it possible to handcraft our next unique musical instrument...
Luthieros’ Phorminx has 7 or 9 gut strings (a set of nylon strings are included too, for greater durability). The soundbox is made of wood, shaped to produce a rich sound, the arm, the tailpiece, the crossbar, the soundboard, the bridge, the plectrum and tuning keys of maple wood.
The lyre’s height is 75 cm with 43 cm width, while its soundbox dimensions 43 x 42 x 7-8 cm. Smaller versions are also being constructed.
We use only top quality kinds of wood, ideal for musical instruments, such as walnut, cherry, mahogany, mulberry, maple, ebony etc. In case you are interested to learn what specific kinds of wood we used for this specific Phorminx’s parts, don’t hesitate to ask us!
Along with every Phorminx, 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 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-page book (in the form of a .pdf file) will be given upon request, with more than 100 photos, describing the research behind our ancient string instruments 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 Phorminx available for purchase are limited.
|Number of strings||
75 x 43 x 7-8 cm
43 x 42 x 7-8 cm
Minor alterations might be present in the final instrument (regarding the color 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 Luthieros musical instrument is undoubtedly unique.
"All of these beautiful lyres, lovingly hand-crafted by Luthieros are indeed, divine artifacts, reintroduced into the modern world… " - Michael Levy, a world-renowned lyre player. Read his extended review here.
"The Koumartzis familia have been making replicas of ancient Greek instruments for many years, used by famous lyre players. They also contribute to their musical passions through research and collaborations." - Ancient History Encyclopedia. Read the extended tribute here.
"My ancient Kithara, handcrafted by Luthieros Music Instruments, is for me a very interesting challenge. As an instrument is both old and new. It carries a history of many centuries and at the same time_ it is a very modern challenge that requires a creative approach to musical archetypes. After many experiments […] I discover that this instrument has but many extensions and features that are not noticeable at first glance. The construction is both sturdy and thin, and made of quality woods, which are eclectic, stylish and durable." - Ross Daly, a professional world musician of Irish descent.
"Electric guitars are very often provided with vibrato, tremolo or whammy bars. That concept was in fact invented by the ancient Greeks twenty four hundred years ago. Kithara was a musical instrument very popular during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece. This is a reproduction that was made by the Greek master luthier Anastasios Koumartizis of Luthiers Music Instruments." - Peter Pringle, a professional Canadian musician, and well-known ancient instruments player. Watch his extended video review here.
"It’s handcrafted with such care and the materials are fine and well chosen. It arrived to us safely all the way from Greece and we were able to track it all the way so we always knew what was happening." - Rachel Loeb, Los Angeles, U.S.A. (verified review through Etsy.com).
"Absolutely fantastic! A truly wonderfully crafted instrument. I can’t put it down. It feels wonderful to play and is transporting me back in time." - Sarah Tilsley, West Sussex, U.K. (verified review through Etsy.com).
"Can't be happier with my lyre! Learning how to play this amazing piece of art! The lyre has amazing finishes and you can feel it's made with love and skilfull hands." - Jaume Gual Bennàssar, Balearic Islands, Spain (verified review through Etsy.com).
"Amazing company! I was very skeptical about ordering an instrument online but it was packaged very safely and arrived in such a timely manner! Luthieros also has some of the best communication skills I've ever encountered with a company, I had many questions that were all answered with great detail shortly after I asked them." - Batherus Batherus, New York, U.S.A. (verified review through Etsy.com).
A 2-minutes look to an on-going R&D project: The Lyre 2.0 Project
Hear how our ancient lyres sound: Professional and amateur musicians around the world play, compose and experiment with our full range of ancient musical instruments. Be inspired by them by hearing audio recordings and watching them playing ancient melodies!
Learn how to play a lyre-like instrument: Michael Levy, one of the most renowned ancient lyre players around the world, put together a course of 11 video lessons (available online at our website). No matter if you are a complete amateur or a professional music player, you can play the lyre following Michael's steps.
Learn how to play an advanced string ancient Greek instrument, the cithara of the Golden Age (with a vibrato & tremolo feature): Michael Levy put together for us 11 video lessons (available online at our website).
Don't hesitate to ask: Luthieros team is proud for its great reputation in terms of customer service and customer satisfaction. If you need further clarifications or need someone to guide you to the perfect musical instrument for your personal needs, here is how to get in touch with us: Get in touch with Luthieros team
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).
This is a must-have item to accompany your ancient musical instrument, in order to store it properly and be able to move it around without worrying that you will harm it in any way. These top-quality handcrafted wooden cases will protect your musical instrument against any small or moderate impact or humidity (by far the most common causes of instruments' malfunctions).
Designed specifically for every instrument
Every one of our handmade wooden cases is crafted from scratch to meet the dimensions of our musical instruments.
We use natural wood for the case, along with durable foam for top-notch protection.
Let the world know!
Every case is decorated with our logo in order to let the world know that you own a unique Luthieros musical instrument!
Ready to Own Something Truly Unique?
Phorminx (7 or 9 strings) – ancient lyre-type instrument with vibrato mechanism
650.00 € – 725.00 €