FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the lyre:

Is it difficult to learn to play a lyre?

No.

I play the harp (or guitar) – will this help?

The lyre is the ancient ancestor of both these instruments, and although experience with them will very likely help, the technique is not exactly the same.

Can a lyre be amplified?

Yes.  For the best results, use the kind of contact pickups made for violins, mandolins, etc, attached to the soundboard.  Alternatively, you can put a microphone in front of the soundholes, or use a small clip-on microphone pickup.

Does the lyre have any kind of spiritual associations?

There is no particular religion that is exclusively associated with lyre playing in antiquity in northern Europe, and grave finds suggest it being used by Christians and Heathens alike.

The Old Testament contains numerous references to the lyre, hence it could be said that it has historical links with both Christianity and Judaism.  The Graeco-Roman gods Hermes and Apollo were specifically linked to the playing of the lyre, as were other figures from classical mythology such as Orpheus.  Although the lyre was widely played in pre-Christian Celtic and Germanic societies, there is no evidence of it having any specific religious connotations or uses.

Today, the revival of interest in the lyre seems to be shared by people of many faiths or none, including Heathens, Celtic Christians and Jews, as well as New Age practitioners who find the lyre an ideal instrument for sound therapy (the first person to revive interest in the lyre in the modern day may well have been the famous New Age theorist Rudolph Steiner).