According to ancient Greek mythology, Hermes was the one who invented the lyre in the first place. Orpheus was believed to be Thracian, which helped reinforce the belief that the lyre had its origins there. holds that many modern stringed instruments are late-emerging examples of the lyre class. Greek Vase Paintings 2. Cartwright, Mark. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 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. Lyre. 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. ", This page was last edited on 28 December 2020, at 02:32. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp but with distinct differences. [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. In Greek mythology, the swan is a bird sacred to Aphrodite and Apollo. 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. License. Other mythical figures often seen with a lyre include Eros and the Muses. 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. [6], There is no evidence as to the stringing of the Greek lyre in the heroic age. [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. This is the principle on which the modern violin and guitar work. 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 Greek Mythology, Orpheus was the greatest lyre player in the world. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Complete lyres survive from the Hellenistic period, a notable example being the bronze lyre from the Antikythera shipwreck. https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/. When children, they were left to die on Mount Cithaeron but were found and brought up by a shepherd. Made by Hermes from a tortoise shell, given to Apollo as a bargain, it was said to be the first lyre ever produced. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/. He performed brave exploits and adventures. 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. 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). Sometimes the hero, even though mortal, was somehow related to the gods. 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 Mythology. 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 number of strings on the classical lyre varied at different epochs and possibly in different localities—four, seven, and ten having been favorite numbers. In fact, in her origin, Terpsichore was a nymph linked to nature, and in some versions, she is considered the mother of mermaids. Thu… 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 lyre—which is perhaps his most well-known symbol—signifies that Apollo is the god of music. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. (In Euripides’ lost Antiope the two young men Orpheus's music was said to be so great that even inanimate objects such as trees , streams , and rocks could be charmed. In order not to be followed, he made shoes for the cows which forced them to walk backwards. When he died, his lyre was thrown into a river. [6] The English word comes via Latin from the Greek. In Ancient Greece, recitations of lyric poetry were accompanied by lyre playing. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 Dec 2012. Mythology. A Muse sits beside a palm tree holding a lyre. Plato considered only the lyre or kithara as suitable instruments for musical education. 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. #2: “Rising Crete against their shore appears. Greek Heroes A Greek hero was a brave and strong man that was favored by the gods. 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. The Lyre is a stringed musical instrument. Other instruments, also called "lyres", were played with a bow in Europe and parts of the Middle East, namely the Arabic rebab and its descendants,[3] including the Byzantine lyra. [4], The earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists" and written in the Linear B script. The fingers of the left hand touched the lower strings (presumably to silence those whose notes were not wanted). Lyra represents the lyre played by Orpheus, musician of the Argonauts and son of Apollo and the muse Calliope. He fell deeply in love with the nymph Eurydice, and the two were married. There is no clear evidence that non-Greco-Roman lyres were played exclusively with plectra, and numerous instruments regarded by some as modern lyres are played with bows. Apollo then exchanged cattle for this new musical instrument, and Apollo would later present this lyre to Orpheus . [original research?]. Related Content O: Lyre... Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen, Clay dancing figures including a rare female. ... T61.7 Marsyas. At Akrotiri on Thera, a fresco shows a small triangular lyre played by a blue monkey. 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. Orpheus was the son of the Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. Orpheus was a musician, poet and prophet in Greek mythology. Greek Vase Paintings 3. 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. Even mythical figures enjoyed the benefits of a musical education; for example, Achilles was taught to play the lyre by the wise centaur Cheiron. 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. In Greek mythology, the lyre was invented by Hermes. 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 cultural peak of ancient Egypt, and thus the possible age of the earliest instruments of this type, predates the 5th century classic Greece. 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. DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images. Certainly, musicians enjoyed special status as their distinctive costume of a long gown in Greek art shows. 10 Jan 2021. 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. Several Greek city-states (poleis) also used a representation of the lyre on their coins. Hercules - A son of Zeus and the greatest hero in Greek Mythology, Hercules had many labors he had to perform. There are various accounts of five, 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).. Greek Vase Paintings 4. 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. 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. Greek mythology considers the slender, agile and jovial Terpsichore as the Muse of dance and choirs. 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. For example, the silver stater of Calymna in Caria (600-550 BCE) had a tortoise shell lyre on its reverse side. 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. Lyra, the Lyre, is a constellation said to represent the Lyre of Orpheus. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada (a Minoan settlement in Crete). Web. Greek mythology and the Constellation Lyra. Lyres were also used as decorative motifs on late Minoan pottery. Books [7][10] Extending from this sound-chest are two raised arms, which are sometimes hollow, and are curved both outward and forward. 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. 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. Amphion and Zethus, in Greek mythology, the twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. 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. When only a child, he pulled a cow-gut across a tortoise shell, and thereby created the lyre. 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. [citation needed] The instrument is still played in north-eastern parts of Africa. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Lyra - The Lyre. Each of the Muses is lovely, graceful and alluring, and gifted with a particular artistic talent. Interestingly, all lyre players depicted in Greek art are right-handed. Apollo discovered the theft and was only placated by Hermes’ offer of the lyre. 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. The strings were of gut. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of the cows and offered all but the entrails to the gods. It had several predecessors both in the British Isles and in Continental Europe. "A Short Note on African Lyres in Use Today. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. [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. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. Apollo gave his son a lyre and taught him how to play. Apollo was furious, but after hearing the sound of the lyre, his anger faded. Decorated ivory fragments of lyres survive from Mycenae. While it is the symbol of the Olympian Apollo, he did not invent it but he did barter for it. Pitch was changed on individual strings by pressing the string firmly against the fingerboard with the fingertips. At Knossos on Crete a small alabaster lyre is decorated with a swan’s head on each arm of the instrument. He played the lyre and was said to be able to tame lions and tigers with his music. In Greek mythology, Orpheus of the lyre wandered into the underworld of Hades, in grief over the loss of his wife. 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. Zeus sent an eagle to get the lyre and placed both of them in the sky. Music, and specifically playing the lyre, was an integral part of Greek education. It is also said that he took part in the Argonautic Expedition, playing the lyre on the way. 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. 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