12 strings Ancient Greek Lyre
There is a whole family of string instruments in Ancient Greece such as:
Phorminx, Kitharis, Helys, Lyre, Varvitos. Each one has its own
characteristics and special sound.
In antiquity the Lyre was made from tortoise-shell, animal’s horns and gut strings.
There is a beautiful myth that Hermes created the first one
from a tortoise that was walking outside the cave he was born, and eventually
he gave the Lyre, as a present, to Apollo, to calm him down for stealing his
herd of cattle.
Since then (Homer’s times), this instrument is known as Apollo’s Lyre, and
became the instrument that young students were taught music and lyrical
poetry in the Classical Years.
There is one found in Athens, from 5C. B.C, exhibited in the British Museum.
The Lyre that Aliki uses for playing and recording,
is a product of Nikolaos Brass,
acknowledged instrument maker, who, among other ancient Greek instruments, also constructed the 12 strings one.
The sound-bowl is a wood curved tortoise, and all other parts are made from wood except the sounboard,
which is from goat skin. The strings used are nylon guitar-strings.
The combination of the materials plus the analogies and shape,
give to this Lyre a warm, alto voice which is perfect
for accompanying female voices and lyrical poetry.
Wonderful information for the music in antiquity can be looked at
M. L. West’s books ( Ancient Greek Music, Greek Lyrical Poetry etc.)