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. He played the lyre in such a way that stones were made to move. Lyra represents the lyre played by Orpheus, musician of the Argonauts and son of Apollo and the muse Calliope. 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. It is a bird associated with love, music, poetry; it is often pictured singing to a lyre. 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. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. He could charm rocks and rivers with his music. 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. [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". The strings were of gut. 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. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. Along the way, Hermes slaughtered one of them and offered all but the entrails to the gods. SEARCH THEOI. Apollo, from that point on, was considered the player par excellence of the lyre. Other mythical figures often seen with a lyre include Eros and the Muses. The lyre was originally invented by the new-born Hermes, making use of a tortoise shell. In order not to be followed, he made shoes for the cows which forced them to walk backwards. He performed brave exploits and adventures. Decorated ivory fragments of lyres survive from Mycenae. 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. Lyra - The Lyre. Apollo's lyre has the power to turn items—like stones—into musical instruments. Apollo then exchanged cattle for this new musical instrument, and Apollo would later present this lyre to Orpheus . When children, they were left to die on Mount Cithaeron but were found and brought up by a shepherd. 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. Books ... T61.7 Marsyas. 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. [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. 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. According to ancient Greek mythology, Hermes was the one who invented the lyre in the first place. Orpheus was the son of the Thracian King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. 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. In Ancient Greece, recitations of lyric poetry were accompanied by lyre playing. The Lyre is a stringed musical instrument. 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. O: Male head in... Silver drachm from Delos, Cyclades, late 6th century BCE. The fingers of the free hand silenced the unwanted strings in the chord. Depending on the region where they were celebrated, both the names and the number of Muses varied. At Knossos on Crete a small alabaster lyre is decorated with a swan’s head on each arm of the instrument. Orpheus was a musician, poet and prophet in Greek mythology. 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 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. Gods & Goddesses. 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. Locales in southern Europe, western Asia, or north Africa have been proposed[by whom?] [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. They are connected near the top by a crossbar or yoke. Examples of that difference include a piano (a keyed zither) and a violin (referred to by some as a species of fingerboard lyre). However, the invention of the seven string version of the lyre is credited to Terpander of Lesbos. Others view the lyre and zither as being two separate classes. [6] The English word comes via Latin from the Greek. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada (a Minoan settlement in Crete). https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/. He fell deeply in love with the nymph Eurydice, and the two were married. 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 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. 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Greek Heroes A Greek hero was a brave and strong man that was favored by the gods. 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. 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. 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. Some mythic masters like Musaeus, and Thamyris were believed to have been born in Thrace, another place of extensive Greek colonization. [13][14] Material evidence suggests lyres became more widespread during the early Middle Ages,[citation needed] and one view[whose?] 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. Cartwright, Mark. 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. For example, in the royal city of Ur (circa 3000 BC) musicians played the lyre for royalty, according to excavated artifacts. In Greek mythology, Orpheus of the lyre wandered into the underworld of Hades, in grief over the loss of his wife. 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. 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. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 Dec 2012. [7][10] Extending from this sound-chest are two raised arms, which are sometimes hollow, and are curved both outward and forward. Greek mythology and the Constellation Lyra. 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. "Lyre." She is depicted as a girl with harmonic lines played with a wreath of flowers and carrying a lyre in her hand. The sarcophagus was used during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete (c. 1400 BC). 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. Plato considered only the lyre or kithara as suitable instruments for musical education. 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. 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 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).. 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. The Celtic Lyre: A Collection of Gaelic Songs With English Translations... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Web. [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. Apollo Greek God Unique Wall Painting (Playing Lyre) Greek Mythology Handmade on Wood 25cm Statuescrafts. Greek Vase Paintings 3. The deepest note was that farthest from the player's body; since the strings di… Greek mythology considers the slender, agile and jovial Terpsichore as the Muse of dance and choirs. 10 Jan 2021. Other instruments known as lyres have been fashioned and used in Europe outside the Greco-Roman world since at least the Iron Age. O: Lyre... Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen, Clay dancing figures including a rare female. 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 Lyre. [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. In fact, in her origin, Terpsichore was a nymph linked to nature, and in some versions, she is considered the mother of mermaids. Apollo was furious, but after hearing the sound of the lyre, his anger faded. Hercules - A son of Zeus and the greatest hero in Greek Mythology, Hercules had many labors he had to perform. "Lyre." Nor was a bow possible, the flat sound-board being an insuperable impediment. Apollo discovered the theft and was only placated by Hermes’ offer of the lyre. Over time, the name in the wider Hellenic space came to be used to label mostly bowed lutes such as the Byzantine lyra, the Pontic lyra, the Constantinopolitan lyra, the Cretan lyra, the lira da braccio, the Calabrian lira, the lijerica, the lyra viol, the lirone. Last modified December 16, 2012. Orpheus with nymphs GALLERIES. When he died, his lyre was thrown into a river. 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. Cartwright, Mark. Orpheus was a talented musician. Their marriage was brief, however, as Eurydice was bitten by a viper and died shortly after. Slightly later, across the Aegean in the 14th century BCE, lyres develop S-shaped arms and are frequently decorated with water-birds. From the entrails, he created the lyre. [citation needed] The instrument is still played in north-eastern parts of Africa. Unsurprisingly, considering its association with Apollo, the silver drachma of Delos had a lyre on its reverse in the 6th century BCE. 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. 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. From shop Statuescrafts. 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. 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. 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. In reference to design, the lyre is a tool of transformation meant to correspond with the symphonic tones/frequencies of a vibratory universe. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp but with distinct differences. The lyre (Greek: λύρα, lýra) is a string instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later periods. The lyre is one of the most ancient of musical instruments. While it is the symbol of the Olympian Apollo, he did not invent it but he did barter for it. This is the principle on which the modern violin and guitar work. An additional crossbar, fixed to the sound-chest, makes the bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings. 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. Cite This Work It had several predecessors both in the British Isles and in Continental Europe. It is also said that he took part in the Argonautic Expedition, playing the lyre on the way. as the historic birthplace of the genus. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Ancient History Encyclopedia. In Greek mythology, all four instruments are often named interchangeably in various myths, and Hermes is generally credited with their invention. In Greek mythology, the swan is a bird sacred to Aphrodite and Apollo. 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. The King's Delight: a Collection of Early Music, Arranged for Lap Harp. 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. 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. He played the lyre and was said to be able to tame lions and tigers with his music. [6], According to ancient Greek mythology, the young god Hermes stole a herd of sacred cows from Apollo. 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. License. Amphion became a great singer and musician, Zethus a hunter and herdsman. 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. In Greek Mythology, Orpheus was the greatest lyre player in the world. 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. Plutarch says that Olympus and Terpander used but three strings to accompany their recitation. 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. Pitch was changed on individual strings by pressing the string firmly against the fingerboard with the fingertips. 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. Extending from this sound-chest are two raised arms, which are sometimes hollow, and are curved both outward and forward. Been born in Thrace, another place of extensive Greek colonization pictured singing to a,! Only the lyre is decorated with water-birds or north Africa have been proposed [ whom! Bowed yoke lyres with fingerboard was the son of Zeus lyre greek mythology Antiope King 's Delight a! As an accompaniment to singing or lyric poetry Africa have been born in Thrace, another place extensive... The muse Calliope figures often seen with a wreath of flowers and carrying lyre. Other great mythical musician, Orpheus, how to play the instrument which would become his.! 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