Collection: Lyre Harp

What's Lyre Harp?

The lyre harp is a string instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later periods. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp but with distinct differences. In organology, lyres are defined as “yoke lutes”, being lutes in which the strings are attached to a yoke that lies in the same plane as the sound-table and consists of two arms and a cross-bar.

In Ancient Greece, recitations of lyric poetry were accompanied by lyre harp playing. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada . The sarcophagus was used during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete.

The lyre of classical antiquity was ordinarily played by being strummed with a plectrum (pick), like a guitar or a zither, rather than being plucked with the fingers as with a harp. The fingers of the free hand silenced the unwanted strings in the chord. Later instruments, also called “lyres”, were played with a bow in Europe and parts of the Middle East, namely the Byzantine lyra and its descendants.

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