Lyre Facts

Lyre Facts
The lyre is a musical instrument from the string family that dates back to the Ancient Greek world. In Greek mythology the lyre, chelys, phorminx, and kithara (all string instruments) were created by Hermes. Hermes made the lyre from a tortoise shell, and used it to steel cattle from Apollo. Hermes gave Apollo the lyre when the theft was discovered. In Ancient Greece the lyre was either played as a solo instrument or along with poetry or singing. It was played at most important events in Greece and is depicted in much of the early art dating back as far as 2000 BC to the Middle Bronze Age, but the lyre existed for at least 1000 years prior to this.
Interesting Lyre Facts:
The word lyre is derived from an Ancient Greek word 'lura' which means a 'stringed instrument with sounding board made of a tortoise shell'.
The first lyres in Ancient Greece were made of tortoise shells. They had two fixed upright arms and a cross bar. There were tuning pegs often made of bone, ivory, wood or even bronze. Strings were usually made of sheep gut.
The lyre in Ancient Greece was one of the most popular string instruments of its time.
Lyres have had a variety of numbers of strings throughout history. The most common configurations have included lyres with 4, 7, and 10 strings.
Playing the lyre involved a plucking motion, usually with a plectrum (pic).
The classic lyre has a hollow body with two raised arms curved outward and forward and connected by a crossbar.
Most lyre players were male but some art dating back to 1300 BCE shows female lyre players.
Lyres were often depicted on ancient coins.
A lyre believed to be 2300 years old was discovered in Scotland in 2010. This makes it the oldest surviving stringed musical instrument in Europe.
Some people classify the lyre as an instrument of the zither family while others do not.
In Europe the lyre was known by a variety of names (with variations), including the gue or cruit in Scotland; the rote or crowd in England; the crwth in Wales; the giga in Norway; the talharpa in Estonia; the jouhikko in Finland; the Lira in Poland; the chorus in Latin; and the rotte, crotte, or Anglo-Saxon lyre in Continental Europe.
In Africa the lyre was known by a variety of names such as: the kisser, tanbura, or simsimiyya in Egypt; the tanbura or kisser in Sudan; the begena, dita, or krar in Ethiopia; the ntongoli or endongo in Uganda; the litungu in Tanzania; and the obokano, nyatiti, litungu, or kibugander in Kenya.
The lyre is mentioned in Beowulf - the Old English 3182 line epic poem written between 975 and 1010 AD.
In some places in north-east Africa the lyre is still played.
Lyres are sometimes confused with harps, but the strings on a lyre pass over a bridge and the strings on a harp enter through the instrument's body. The lyre is more similar to a guitar in that the strings passing over the bridge create the vibrations to the body.

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