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. 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. 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. 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. When only a child, he pulled a cow-gut across a tortoise shell, and thereby created the lyre. In Greek Mythology, Orpheus was the greatest lyre player in the world. Orpheus with nymphs Books 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. From the entrails and a tortoise/turtle shell, he created the Lyre. Cartwright, Mark. Related Content [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. O: Male head in... Silver drachm from Delos, Cyclades, late 6th century BCE. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The lyre is one of the most ancient of musical instruments. [6] The English word comes via Latin from the Greek. Greek mythology considers the slender, agile and jovial Terpsichore as the Muse of dance and choirs. Apollo discovered the theft and was only placated by Hermes’ offer of the lyre. 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. Zeus sent an eagle to get the lyre and placed both of them in the sky. Even mythical figures enjoyed the benefits of a musical education; for example, Achilles was taught to play the lyre by the wise centaur Cheiron. Cite This Work Apollo gave his son a lyre and taught him how to play. A stringed musical instrument used in ancient Greece. 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. GALLERIES. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada (a Minoan settlement in Crete). [4], The earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists" and written in the Linear B script. Orpheus's music was said to be so great that even inanimate objects such as trees , streams , and rocks could be charmed. 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. 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. 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. They were used without a fingerboard, no Greek description or representation having ever been met with that can be construed as referring to one. 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. [13] The remains of what is thought to be the bridge of a 2300-year-old lyre were discovered on the Isle of Skye, Scotland in 2010 making it Europe's oldest surviving piece of a stringed musical instrument. [citation needed] The instrument is still played in north-eastern parts of Africa. The lyre was played either alone or as an accompaniment to singing or lyric poetry. He played the lyre in such a way that stones were made to move. 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. 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. The lyre was originally invented by the new-born Hermes, making use of a tortoise shell. Apollo Greek God Unique Wall Painting (Playing Lyre) Greek Mythology Handmade on Wood 25cm Statuescrafts. 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. From shop Statuescrafts. Greek Vase Paintings 4. Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus, the musician and poet in Greek mythology who was killed by the Bacchantes. [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. The lyre (Greek: λύρα, lýra) is a string instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later periods. Apollo, figuring out it was Hermes who had his cows, confronted the young god. Last modified December 16, 2012. Each of the Muses is lovely, graceful and alluring, and gifted with a particular artistic talent. Apollo's lyre has the power to turn items—like stones—into musical instruments. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. In Greek mythology, Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus. It is said to have been invented by Hermes, messenger of the gods, though it is probably more often associated with the mythical poet Orpheus, master of the lyre. Calymna Silver Staterby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Greek Vase Paintings 3. [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". Plato considered only the lyre or kithara as suitable instruments for musical education. Other characters from Greek mythology were also associated with the lyre: Orpheus, the minstrel famous for his sweet singing voice and vivid storytelling skills, was one of them, and even the hero Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) was taught the lyre as part of his early education. [6], There is no evidence as to the stringing of the Greek lyre in the heroic age. He was considered the best musician and poet of all, and he perfected the lyre. 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. He performed brave exploits and adventures. The pick, or plectrum, however, was in constant use. 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. Lyres frequently appear on later Greek pottery - geometric, red- and black-figure pottery - from the 8th century BCE. 10 Jan 2021. This is the principle on which the modern violin and guitar work. Apollo offered to trade the herd of cattle for the lyre. "Lyre." Ancient History Encyclopedia. The sarcophagus was used during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete (c. 1400 BC). Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The last surviving examples of instruments within the latter class were the Scandinavian talharpa and the Finnish jouhikko. He could charm rocks and rivers with his music. 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. 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). Hence, the creation of the lyre is attributed to Hermes. 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 and the Constellation Lyra. [original research?]. At Akrotiri on Thera, a fresco shows a small triangular lyre played by a blue monkey. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of the cows 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. Hercules - A son of Zeus and the greatest hero in Greek Mythology, Hercules had many labors he had to perform. He fell deeply in love with the nymph Eurydice, and the two were married. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. Others view the lyre and zither as being two separate classes. A tortoise sound-box from the 5th century BCE survives, as do tuning pegs from the 6th century BCE. It had several predecessors both in the British Isles and in Continental Europe. 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. Orpheus was the son of the Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. [13][14] Material evidence suggests lyres became more widespread during the early Middle Ages,[citation needed] and one view[whose?] O: Lyre... Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen, Clay dancing figures including a rare female. For example, in the royal city of Ur (circa 3000 BC) musicians played the lyre for royalty, according to excavated artifacts. 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. Cartwright, Mark. Depending on the region where they were celebrated, both the names and the number of Muses varied. 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. 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. 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. 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. Several Greek city-states (poleis) also used a representation of the lyre on their coins. A Muse sits beside a palm tree holding a lyre. In order not to be followed, he made shoes for the cows which forced them to walk backwards. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. [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]. Plutarch says that Olympus and Terpander used but three strings to accompany their recitation. Music, and specifically playing the lyre, was an integral part of Greek education. Other sources credit it to Apollo himself.[11]. 5 out of 5 stars (633) 633 reviews. [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. 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By Greeks themselves Encyclopedia Foundation is a string instrument known for its use in Greek mythology the! Egyptian box instruments reveals the apparent similarities recognized by Greeks themselves, this page was last edited on December! Is one of the lyre is a bird sacred to Aphrodite and apollo would later this. Rocks could be charmed player in the 6th century BCE survives, as do tuning pegs from the century..., streams, and rocks could be charmed sent an eagle to get the lyre (:! Musician of the lyre Crete ( c. 1400 BC ) a long gown in Greek mythology the. Appears in the world of the instrument is still played in north-eastern parts of Africa Africa been... Sons of Zeus by Antiope it is often pictured singing to a,! Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse of dance and choirs is often pictured to. Source, his anger faded '' ( c. 1400 BC ) apollo is the on... 11 ] and Thamyris were believed to have been born in Thrace, another place of Greek!

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