Orpheus was believed to be Thracian, which helped reinforce the belief that the lyre had its origins there. Complete lyres survive from the Hellenistic period, a notable example being the bronze lyre from the Antikythera shipwreck. Depending on the region where they were celebrated, both the names and the number of Muses varied. The instrument usually had two fixed upright arms (pecheis) or horns (kerata) and a crossbar (zygos) with tuning pegs (kollopes) of bronze, wood, ivory, or bone. Coins of Kos from the 2nd to 1st century BCE carried the head of Apollo on the obverse and a five-stringed lyre on the reverse. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. The story of Hermes and the Lyre is one of the stories about the history of ancient gods and goddesses featured in ancient mythology and legends. Plato considered only the lyre or kithara as suitable instruments for musical education. Greek Vase Paintings 2. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of the cows and offered all but the entrails to the gods. [6] The English word comes via Latin from the Greek. [5] In classical Greek, the word "lyre" could either refer specifically to an amateur instrument, which is a smaller version of the professional cithara and eastern-Aegean barbiton, or "lyre" can refer generally to all three instruments as a family. However, the invention of the seven string version of the lyre is credited to Terpander of Lesbos. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 Dec 2012. There came to be two broad classes of bowed European yoke lyres: those with fingerboards dividing the open space within the yoke longitudinally, and those without fingerboards. Those specialists maintain that the zither is distinguished by strings spread across all or most of its soundboard, or the top surface of its sound-chest, also called soundbox or resonator, as opposed to the lyre, whose strings emanate from a more or less common point off the soundboard, such as a tailpiece. Thu… It had several predecessors both in the British Isles and in Continental Europe. (In Euripides’ lost Antiope the two young men In fact, in her origin, Terpsichore was a nymph linked to nature, and in some versions, she is considered the mother of mermaids. License. In a Greek mythology, the walls of Thebes were said to have been constructed by the skill of a musician called Amphion and his lyre. In the same period, coins of Thespiai - where there was a temple dedicated to Apollo and another to the Muses - carried a three-stringed lyre on their reverse sides. Apollo, figuring out it was Hermes who had his cows, confronted the young god. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Examples of that difference include a piano (a keyed zither) and a violin (referred to by some as a species of fingerboard lyre). Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/. At Akrotiri on Thera, a fresco shows a small triangular lyre played by a blue monkey. At Knossos on Crete a small alabaster lyre is decorated with a swan’s head on each arm of the instrument. Bestiary. Lyres frequently appear on later Greek pottery - geometric, red- and black-figure pottery - from the 8th century BCE. Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus, the musician and poet in Greek mythology who was killed by the Bacchantes. Slightly later, across the Aegean in the 14th century BCE, lyres develop S-shaped arms and are frequently decorated with water-birds. Orpheus's music was said to be so great that even inanimate objects such as trees , streams , and rocks could be charmed. [6], According to ancient Greek mythology, the young god Hermes stole a herd of sacred cows from Apollo. The Lyre is a stringed musical instrument. The lyre was originally invented by the new-born Hermes, making use of a tortoise shell. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus, king of gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.They were born after the pair lay together for nine nights in a row. Greek Mythology. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. [7], The term is also used metaphorically to refer to the work or skill of a poet, as in Shelley's "Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is"[8] or Byron's "I wish to tune my quivering lyre, / To deeds of fame, and notes of fire". Apollo's lyre has the power to turn items—like stones—into musical instruments. The last surviving examples of instruments within the latter class were the Scandinavian talharpa and the Finnish jouhikko. For example, the silver stater of Calymna in Caria (600-550 BCE) had a tortoise shell lyre on its reverse side. Some mythic masters like Musaeus, and Thamyris were believed to have been born in Thrace, another place of extensive Greek colonization. Cartwright, Mark. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. A sarcophagus from Hagia Triada depicts a seven string lyre, a wall-painting from Mycenaean Pylos has a five string lyre and a krater from Tiryns depicts a three string version. Hercules - A son of Zeus and the greatest hero in Greek Mythology, Hercules had many labors he had to perform. In Greek mythology, all four instruments are often named interchangeably in various myths, and Hermes is generally credited with their invention. Orpheus was a talented musician. Like a violin, this method shortened the vibrating length of the string to produce higher tones, while releasing the finger gave the string a greater vibrating length, thereby producing a tone lower in pitch. Zeus sent an eagle to get the lyre and placed both of them in the sky. The messenger god made the instrument from a tortoise shell, gut, and reeds, principally to help him steal 50 prize cattle from Apollo’s sacred herd. DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images. [6] Before Greek civilization had assumed its historic form, there was likely to have been great freedom and independence of different localities in the matter of lyre stringing, which is corroborated by the antique use of the chromatic (half-tone) and enharmonic (quarter-tone) tunings pointing to an early exuberance, and perhaps also to a bias towards refinements of intonation. As so often happens In Greek mythology though, tragedy struck when Eurydice was bitten by a snake in the forest and died. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp but with distinct differences. A classical lyre has a hollow body or sound-chest (also known as soundboxor resonator), which, in ancient Greek tradition, was made out of turtle shell. Several carved figures from the arms of lyres have survived, notably an inlaid ivory youth from Samos (c. 7th century BCE) and a woman with sphinx and swan from c. 600 BCE. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 16 December 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. Other mythical figures often seen with a lyre include Eros and the Muses. The lyre was played either alone or as an accompaniment to singing or lyric poetry at all manner of occasions such as official banquets, symposia (private drinking parties), religious ceremonies, funerals, and in musical competitions such as those held at the great Panathanaia, Pythia, and Karneia festivals. They were stretched between the yoke and bridge, or to a tailpiece below the bridge. Pitch was changed on individual strings by pressing the string firmly against the fingerboard with the fingertips. [citation needed] The instrument is still played in north-eastern parts of Africa. While it is the symbol of the Olympian Apollo, he did not invent it but he did barter for it. Apollo gave his son the lyre as a gift, and Orpheus played it so well that even the wild beasts, the rocks, and the trees were charmed by his music. He performed brave exploits and adventures. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Orpheus with nymphs Orpheus and his lyre. Extending from this sound-chest are two raised arms, which are sometimes hollow, and are curved both outward and forward. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. [9], A classical lyre has a hollow body or sound-chest (also known as soundbox or resonator), which, in ancient Greek tradition, was made out of turtle shell. He charmed Pluto into allowing his dead wife to come back to the living world to be with him by using his talent in playing the lyre. Orpheus Plays the Lyre Apollo is the Greek god of music and poetry, and he is most famously known for playing the lyre, a musical instrument made of strings, and a tortoise shell. [citation needed], The so-called lyres of Ur, excavated in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), date to 2500 BC and are considered to be the world's oldest surviving stringed instruments.[12]. According to a source, his music had the ability to charm the animals and make the trees dance. Even mythical figures enjoyed the benefits of a musical education; for example, Achilles was taught to play the lyre by the wise centaur Cheiron. 10 Jan 2021. "Lyre." When only a child, he pulled a cow-gut across a tortoise shell, and thereby created the lyre. Other sources credit it to Apollo himself.[11]. Some of the cultures using and developing the lyre were the Aeolian and Ionian Greek colonies on the coasts of Asia (ancient Asia Minor, modern day Turkey) bordering the Lydian empire. Other instruments known as lyres have been fashioned and used in Europe outside the Greco-Roman world since at least the Iron Age. Apollo, byname Phoebus, in Greco-Roman mythology, a deity of manifold function and meaning, one of the most widely revered and influential of all the ancient Greek and Roman gods. The deepest note was that farthest from the player's body; since the strings did not differ much in length, more weight may have been gained for the deeper notes by thicker strings, as in the violin and similar modern instruments, or they were tuned by having a slacker tension. Gods & Goddesses. Several Greek city-states (poleis) also used a representation of the lyre on their coins. Apollo gave his son a lyre and taught him how to play. Apollo discovered the theft and was only placated by Hermes’ offer of the lyre. One day, when he was only just big enough to walk, he ran out of doors to play in the sunshine, and saw a spotted tortoise-shell lying in the grass. The strings were of gut. Learning of his wife's death, Orpheus poured his sorrow into his music, and played such a tune on the lyre that Apollo was moved to help his son. The lyre was a stringed musical instrument played by the ancient Greeks and was probably the most important and well-known instrument in the Greek world. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of them and offered all but the entrails to the gods. Unsurprisingly, considering its association with Apollo, the silver drachma of Delos had a lyre on its reverse in the 6th century BCE. Apollo Greek God Unique Wall Painting (Playing Lyre) Greek Mythology Handmade on Wood 25cm Statuescrafts. The fingers of the free hand silenced the unwanted strings in the chord. This group they usually refer to as the lute class, after the instrument of that name, and include within it the guitar, the violin, the banjo, and similar stringed instruments with fingerboards. His parents were the king of Thrace Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. Lyres were also used as decorative motifs on late Minoan pottery. The lyre (Greek: λύρα, lýra) is a string instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later periods. There too, in living sculpture, might be seen The mad affection of the Cretan queen; Then how she cheats her bellowing lover’s eye; The rushing leap, the doubtful progeny, The lower part a beast, a man above, The monument of their polluted love.” #3: “But there is one other important similarity between the schoolboy and ourselves. The King's Delight: a Collection of Early Music, Arranged for Lap Harp. Interestingly, all lyre players depicted in Greek art are right-handed. [4], The earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists" and written in the Linear B script. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. The Lyre or Harp is the instrument invented by Hermes and given to Apollo his half-brother, who in turn gave it to his son Orpheus, the musician of the Argonauts. He fell deeply in love with the nymph Eurydice, and the two were married. Lyre. Orpheus was the son of the Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. The fingers of the left hand touched the lower strings (presumably to silence those whose notes were not wanted). "A Short Note on African Lyres in Use Today. They are connected near the top by a crossbar or yoke. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. It is also said that he took part in the Argonautic Expedition, playing the lyre on the way. Others view the lyre and zither as being two separate classes. In ancient myths, the god Hermes created the lyre and gave it to Apollo in exchange for the rod of health—or for the cows that the mischievous Hermes had stolen from Apollo. [7][10] Extending from this sound-chest are two raised arms, which are sometimes hollow, and are curved both outward and forward. Apollo, from that point on, was considered the player par excellence of the lyre. Certainly, musicians enjoyed special status as their distinctive costume of a long gown in Greek art shows. National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale) of Naples, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "rabab (musical instrument) – Encyclopædia Britannica", "Skye cave find western Europe's 'earliest string instrument, "The Universal Lyre – From Three Perspectives", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lyre&oldid=996687334, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from October 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2019, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from September 2019, All articles that may contain original research, Articles that may contain original research from October 2019, Articles that may contain original research from November 2014, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2016, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz instrument identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Continental Europe: Germanic or Anglo-Saxon lyre (, Jenkins, J. 5 out of 5 stars (633) 633 reviews. Music, and specifically playing the lyre, was an integral part of Greek education. Plutarch says that Olympus and Terpander used but three strings to accompany their recitation. Played sitting or standing, the instrument was held in the hand and sometimes supported with a carrying strap worn over the shoulder of the player. After the bow made its way into Europe from the Middle-East, around two centuries later, it was applied to several species of those lyres that were small enough to make bowing practical. The last of the bowed yoke lyres with fingerboard was the "modern" (c. 1485–1800) Welsh crwth. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. [clarification needed] The accuracy of this representation cannot be insisted upon, the vase painters being little mindful of the complete expression of details; yet one may suppose their tendency would be rather to imitate than to invent a number. Last modified December 16, 2012. Made by Hermes from a tortoise shell, given to Apollo as a bargain, it was said to be the first lyre ever produced. Web. A lyre is made with a wooden sounding board and two curved arms joined by a yoke; similar to a harp with four to ten strings; also similar to the kithara (cithara).. The number of strings on the classical lyre varied at different epochs and possibly in different localities—four, seven, and ten having been favorite numbers. The cultural peak of ancient Egypt, and thus the possible age of the earliest instruments of this type, predates the 5th century classic Greece. Lyra, the Lyre, is a constellation said to represent the Lyre of Orpheus. The lyre—which is perhaps his most well-known symbol—signifies that Apollo is the god of music. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. #2: “Rising Crete against their shore appears. The first examples of the lyre were discovered at the ancient Sumerian city of Ur (2025-1738 BC) in ancient Mesopotamia, yet according to Greek mythology the lyre was a musical instrument created by Hermes. Greek Heroes A Greek hero was a brave and strong man that was favored by the gods. https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/. As the story goes, the young god Hermes stole a herd of sacred cows from Apollo. He played the lyre and was said to be able to tame lions and tigers with his music. The majority of musicians who played the lyre were male, but some depictions in art, most notably the clay dancers from Minoan Palaikastro (1420-1300 BCE), do show a female lyre player. Amphion and Zethus, in Greek mythology, the twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. For example, in the royal city of Ur (circa 3000 BC) musicians played the lyre for royalty, according to excavated artifacts. Apollo then exchanged cattle for this new musical instrument, and Apollo would later present this lyre to Orpheus . Locales in southern Europe, western Asia, or north Africa have been proposed[by whom?] He charmed Pluto into allowing his dead wife to come back to the living world to be with him by using his talent in playing the lyre. According to ancient Greek mythology, Hermes was the one who invented the lyre in the first place. When he died, his lyre was thrown into a river. The lyre is one of the most ancient of musical instruments. The lyre (lyra) is a musical instrument from Ancient Greece. Some specialists even argue that instruments such as the violin and guitar belong to a class apart from the lyre because they have no yokes or uprights surmounting their resonators as "true" lyres have. From the entrails and a tortoise/turtle shell, he created the Lyre. Cartwright, Mark. Dates of origin, which probably vary from region to region, cannot be determined, but the oldest known fragments of such instruments are thought to date from the fifth century England with the Discovery of the Abingdon Lyre. A Muse sits beside a palm tree holding a lyre. "Lyre." From the entrails, he created the lyre. Calymna Silver Staterby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). This indicates the possibility that the lyre might have existed in one of Greece's neighboring countries, either Thrace, Lydia, or Egypt, and was introduced into Greece at pre-classic times. Greek Vase Paintings 3. ", This page was last edited on 28 December 2020, at 02:32. In addition, Minoan hieroglyphs had a unique symbol for musicians, and a Linear B tablet from Thebes (1250-1200 BCE) mentions lyre players as members of the Mycenaean palace staff. There were two ways of tuning: one was to fasten the strings to pegs that might be turned, while the other was to change the placement of the string on the crossbar; it is likely that both expedients were used simultaneously. The deepest note was that farthest from the player's body; since the strings di… Music (or mousike) was an integral part of life in the ancient... Orpheus is a figure from ancient Greek mythology, most famous for... Sappho of Lesbos (c. 620-570 BCE) was a lyric poet whose work was... A kylix depicting the god Apollo pouring a libation and holding... Silver stater from Calymna, Caria, 600-550 BCE. Different tones could be obtained from a single bowed string by pressing the fingernails of the player's left hand against various points along the string to fret the string. Greek Lyre: For school, we had to do a project on Greek mythology and I decided to do mine on Orpheus, a hero and musician. Greek Vase Paintings 1. This is the principle on which the modern violin and guitar work. It was closely related to the other stringed instruments: the chelys which was made from a tortoise shell, the four-stringed phorminx, and the seven-stringed kithara. Hence, the creation of the lyre is attributed to Hermes. Sometimes the hero, even though mortal, was somehow related to the gods. In Greek mythology, Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus. Apollo offered to trade the herd of cattle for the lyre. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. The lyre was a stringed musical instrument played by the ancient Greeks and was probably the most important and well-known instrument in the Greek world. Their marriage was brief, however, as Eurydice was bitten by a viper and died shortly after. When Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice, he wooed her with his song. They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus. It was held in the right hand to set the upper strings in vibration; when not in use, it hung from the instrument by a ribbon. The Lyre. Lyra - The Lyre. Books Lyres from various times and places are sometimes regarded by organologists as a branch of the zither family, a general category that includes not only zithers, but many different stringed instruments, such as lutes, guitars, kantele, and psalteries. It was their constant practice to represent the strings as being damped by the fingers of the left hand of the player, after having been struck by the plectrum held in the right hand. holds that many modern stringed instruments are late-emerging examples of the lyre class. There were a group of twelve ruling gods who ruled after the Titans were overthrown. It was closely related to the other stringed instruments: the chelys which was made from a tortoise shell, the four-stringed phorminx, and the seven-stringed kithara. Greek mythology considers the slender, agile and jovial Terpsichore as the Muse of dance and choirs. It was the god Apollo who taught Orpheus how to play the lyre when he was an adolescent. as the historic birthplace of the genus. ... T61.7 Marsyas. The Myth of Apollo's Lyre Mercury was the child of Maia, the eldest of the Pleiades, and lived with his mother in a cave among the mountains. The pick, or plectrum, however, was in constant use. In reference to design, the lyre is a tool of transformation meant to correspond with the symphonic tones/frequencies of a vibratory universe. Sep 5, 2019 - Greek Lyre: For school, we had to do a project on Greek mythology and I decided to do mine on Orpheus, a hero and musician. She is depicted as a girl with harmonic lines played with a wreath of flowers and carrying a lyre in her hand. Lyres appearing to have emerged independently of Greco-Roman prototypes were used by the Germanic and Celtic peoples over a thousand years ago (sometimes called psalterys). Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Such stories serve as a doorway to enter the world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. According to the Greek Mythology, two Muses invented theory and practice in learning, three Muses invented the musical vibrations in Lyre, four Muses invented the four known dialects in the language – Attica, Ionian, Aeolian and Dorian – and five muses the five human senses. He was considered the best musician and poet of all, and he perfected the lyre. They were used without a fingerboard, no Greek description or representation having ever been met with that can be construed as referring to one. Related Content It was said to be so beautiful, he could charm fish out of the water, summon birds from the skies, lure wild beasts out of the forests and coax trees and rocks into dancing. In organology, lyre is defined as a "yoke lute", being a lute 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. Apollo also taught that other great mythical musician, Orpheus, how to play the instrument which would become his emblem. There are various accounts of five, [1][2], 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. He could charm rocks and rivers with his music. Seven strings (neurai or chordai) of equal length but varying thickness (usually made from sheep gut) stretched between the crossbar and a fixed tailpiece (chordotonon) and were played by strumming or plucking by hand, usually using a plectrum made of wood, ivory, or metal. A stringed musical instrument used in ancient Greece. Apollo was furious, but after hearing the sound of the lyre, his anger faded. Amphion became a great singer and musician, Zethus a hunter and herdsman. While the dates of origin and other evolutionary details of the European bowed yoke lyres continue to be disputed among organologists, there is general agreement that none of them were the ancestors of modern orchestral bowed stringed instruments, as once was thought. Lyra represents the lyre played by Orpheus, musician of the Argonauts and son of Apollo and the muse Calliope. In Greek mythology, Orpheus of the lyre wandered into the underworld of Hades, in grief over the loss of his wife. As the four strings led to seven and eight by doubling the tetrachord, or series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth, so the trichord is connected with the hexachord or six-stringed lyre depicted on many archaic Greek vases. Each of the Muses is lovely, graceful and alluring, and gifted with a particular artistic talent. Mythology. SEARCH THEOI. They are connected near the top by a crossbar or yoke. Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, Hephaestus Later Hestia gave her position of one of the ruling gods to Dionysus because she became tired of the petty problems between the other gods. [ by whom? have been proposed [ by whom? settlement in Crete.. Considered the player par excellence of the cows were going crown, necklace, bracelets and earrings the.... Reinforce the belief that the lyre, was considered the best musician and poet of all, thereby... Had to perform ) is a constellation said to be so great that even objects., following the trails, could not follow where the cows were going to have been proposed [ whom... The best musician and poet of all, and Thamyris were believed to be Thracian, helped. Mortal, was considered the player par excellence of the free hand silenced unwanted. If it were… a stringed musical instrument, and he perfected the lyre against shore... Aphrodite and apollo would later present this lyre to Orpheus ( poleis ) also used representation... Lyres in use Today hero in Greek mythology, the Silver stater of in... Appear on later Greek pottery - geometric, red- and black-figure pottery - geometric, red- and pottery. The swan is a string instrument known for its use in Greek,... Tree holding a lyre on the way, Hermes was the greatest in. Edited on 28 December 2020, at 02:32, or north Africa have been and... Of apollo and the two were married also taught that other great mythical musician, a! 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