Trossingen lyre replica

Before there were harps there were lyres. It is an interesting question as to how much the northern lyre tradition and the Gaelic harp tradition shared, and how much they are seperate.

In some ways, they are utterly different; the lyre is closer to a guitar or fiddle with its bridge, and all its strings the same length, and it may have been strummed as much as plucked.

But in other ways the two traditions seem close together, sharing names and terminology, and sharing string technology, and having the same associations, of royal and high-status music for the great hall to acompany poetry singing or reciting.

Depictions of lyres on early medieval stones

Lyres available at the Emporium