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Lyre Music!

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  • Terry
    SO... I made this lyre and really don t have any songs to play on it? does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music? Thanks Terry
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 1, 2008
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      SO... I made this lyre and really don't have any songs to play on it?
      does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music?

      Thanks

      Terry
    • Patrick Woolery
      There is some basic playing information in the files section for this Yahoo Group.  I m going to supplement with some of my methodology. My personal favorite
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 1, 2008
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        There is some basic playing information in the files section for this Yahoo Group.  I'm going to supplement with some of my methodology.

        My personal favorite is just playing chords while I sing.  I suspect it was used in this way (or something similar) back in "the day."  With three chords, I can sing thousands of folk songs.  With G diatonic tuning, the chords I play are: G, D, D7, C, Am, Em.  Not bad for six strings, eh?

        I string my lyres with the lowest pitch (the G) furthest from me.  This is opposite of how a guitar is tuned.  For following examples, reverse everything if you string differently.

        The key is actually in developing a technique of finger placement on the strings (damping out those you don't want) that is automatic and easy.  Some people assign one finger to each string (thumb does double duty), but I use hand shapes that are easy for me.  Example:  For the G chord, I block out the three notes that are not part of the chord.  I put my thumb on the the E, my index on the C, and my middle on the A.  Strum across and you get G, B, D.  G major chord!  For a D chord, I am only actually playing two strings.  I shift my index and middle fingers toward my thumb by one string each.  Then I put my ring finger on the G string.  So, I get D and A, or an interval that approximates the D chord.  For a C, I remove the ring finger and shift the whole hand shape over by one string toward the low string. 

        I highly recommend you spend a few hours figuring this out for your own lyre and your own setup.  If you were here in person, I could probably teach you my setup in a matter of less than an hour.  I actually have taught SCA classes on lyre playing and by the end of an hour have half a dozen people playing and singing fairly well.  But it is the people who sit down and figure out what notes they need and how to get them reliably that really learn to do it. 

        To get you started, here are the notes you need for several chords in the key of G:

        G:  g, b, d
        Em: g, b, e
        C:  c, g, e
        D:  d, f#, a  (I play d, a)
        D7:  d, f#, a, c (again, I don't play the F# because it isn't on my lyre)

        Have fun!  That's what it is all about!

        -Patrick



        --- On Wed, 10/1/08, Terry <chrysagon200@...> wrote:
        From: Terry <chrysagon200@...>
        Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!
        To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 5:57 PM

        SO... I made this lyre and really don't have any
         songs to play on it?
        does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music?

        Thanks

        Terry


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      • Michael Peterson
        Just play with it.  You will be making music. Breddelwyn ... From: Terry Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music! To:
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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          Just play with it.  You will be making music.
          Breddelwyn

          --- On Thu, 10/2/08, Terry <chrysagon200@...> wrote:
          From: Terry <chrysagon200@...>
          Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!
          To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 1:57 AM

          SO... I made this lyre and really don't have any songs to play on it?
          does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music?

          Thanks

          Terry


        • sca_bard@yahoo.com
          I play in a different style from Patrick; I m interested in early music and my research leads me to believe triad chords are not the way I want to go. (Which
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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            I play in a different style from Patrick; I'm interested in early music and my research leads me to believe triad chords are not the way I want to go. (Which is *not at all* to say that Patrick is Totally Wrong and I am Obviously Correct; this is just how I like to do it, for my own reasons. He has his own reasons and you have your own reasons. It's all cool.)

            I tune "do re mi fa so la" (in F but just because of my vocal range; I have no real opinion on "right" key). "do" closest to me when I hold the instrument on my left leg; that's just the way I got the instrument and I've never looked into reversing the stringing.

            I usually block all the strings except "re" by putting my fingers on them from behind. I keep "re" open as a drone and lift fingers to get a melody. (Although I do usually twiddle my thumb from "do" over to "re" to play it, then back to finish on "re"; gives me a nice clear cadence that way.)

            I've been working for years on learning to improvise. I'm to the point now where I can take a text (like an old poem) and sing it on the fly, with the lyre. Sometimes I play and sing every note, and sometimes I only play some notes (which means my voice can go past the lyre's six strings). If I'm not singing, then I like to just play melody out of my head. When I started, I wasn't very good, just notes wandering around the strings. Now, six years later, I finish with a flourish and people ask me, "What was that?" because it sounds like a composed song. (Which it is, just not in the usual way. :) )

            My bumbling through the first few years of improvisation have been turned into a class, with notes at:
            http://moeticae.typepad.com/mi_contra_fa/improvisation-for-melody-instruments.html

            To each their own!

            - Jamie

            --- On Thu, 10/2/08, Patrick Woolery <patrick_woolery@...> wrote:
            From: Patrick Woolery <patrick_woolery@...>
            Subject: Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!
            To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 12:19 A

            There is some basic playing information in the files section for this Yahoo Group.  I'm going to supplement with some of my methodology.

            My personal favorite is just playing chords while I sing.  I suspect it was used in this way (or something similar) back in "the day."  With three chords, I can sing thousands of folk songs.  With G diatonic tuning, the chords I play are: G, D, D7, C, Am, Em.  Not bad for six strings, eh?

            I string my lyres with the lowest pitch (the G) furthest from me.  This is opposite of how a guitar is tuned.  For following examples, reverse everything if you string differently.

            The key is actually in developing a technique of finger placement on the strings (damping out those you don't want) that is automatic and easy.  Some people assign one finger to each string (thumb does
            double duty), but I use hand shapes that are easy for me.  Example:  For the G chord, I block out the three notes that are not part of the chord.  I put my thumb on the the E, my index on the C, and my middle on the A.  Strum across and you get G, B, D.  G major chord!  For a D chord, I am only actually playing two strings.  I shift my index and middle fingers toward my thumb by one string each.  Then I put my ring finger on the G string.  So, I get D and A, or an interval that approximates the D chord.  For a C, I remove the ring finger and shift the whole hand shape over by one string toward the low string. 

            I highly recommend you spend a few hours figuring this out for your own lyre and your own setup.  If you were here in person, I could probably teach you my setup in a matter of less than an hour.  I actually have taught SCA classes on lyre playing and by the end of an hour
            have half a dozen people playing and singing fairly well.  But it is the people who sit down and figure out what notes they need and how to get them reliably that really learn to do it. 

            To get you started, here are the notes you need for several chords in the key of G:

            G:  g, b, d
            Em: g, b, e
            C:  c, g, e
            D:  d, f#, a  (I play d, a)
            D7:  d, f#, a, c (again, I don't play the F# because it isn't on my lyre)

            Have fun!  That's what it is all about!

            -Patrick



            --- On Wed, 10/1/08, Terry <chrysagon200@ yahoo.com> wrote:
            From: Terry <chrysagon200@ yahoo.com>
            Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres] Lyre Music!
            To: Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres@yahoogroup s.com
            Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 5:57 PM

            SO... I made this lyre and really don't have any
            songs to play on it?
            does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music?

            Thanks

            Terry


            ------------ --------- --------- ------

            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Kazimierz Verkmastare
            I tune pentatonic because I believe that the rural (pagan, in the actual and not religious definition) peoples tended to tune that way before the influence of
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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              I tune pentatonic because I believe that the rural (pagan, in the actual and not religious definition) peoples tended to tune that way before the influence of ecclesiastic music.
               
              A c d e g a
               
              with the low A closest to me as I hold the lyre on my left leg.
               
              One fo the reasons for this is that you can play any combination of any number of strings on this instrument and it will not sound bad.  Some combinations sound better than others, but they all 'work'.  And if you can chord any combination of strings, you can play any sequence of strings and it will 'work', thus giving you the ability to create melodies instinctively.
               
              If you want to hear something marvelous, listen to Benjamin Bagby reciting Beowulf.  Drone sequences using the top 2 strings, and the rest playing mood and melody.  Probably very close to what was done in period.  But remember - if you pick up your instrument and start fooling around, and come up with chords or sequences within the first week or two, it is almost sretain that people playing the same basic instrument a thousand or more years ago also did just what you are doing, so you are probably playing something that was also played in period.  That is the beauty of the lyre - it is versatile but it is limited to 6 notes 9plus harmonics if you play them) and so there is little new under the sun to be played on one.
               
              You can also find some performances of Kantele, there will be played with a similar style of music.  Remember, music as we think of it was not the same as music back when these lyres were popular.  We think of orchestrated melodies and instruments playing lead parts.  Instruments were used mostly to back up voice, and when used without voice were used to set mood and tone, not in 'songs' as we know them today.  So simply 'create' sounds that you can work with, add 'lyrics' that might be poetry or prose in stories, and you will be playing authentically.
               
              Of course, if you are not interested in actual lyre playing and music, but simply want music you can play on a lyre, just go back to the late 60s and get almost any of the pop-folk songs and ballads, or any of the 60s and 70s TV themes (you can play a really great verision of the theme to Gilligan's Island on a chromatic tuned lyre, and 'smoke on the water' just rolls off a pentatonic).
               
              Just my 2 cents worth
               
              Chris
               

              *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

              On 10/2/2008 at 1:57 AM Terry wrote:

              SO... I made this lyre and really don't have any songs to play on it?
              does anyone have any music? any advice on how to compose sheet music?

              Thanks

              Terry

            • Kazimierz Verkmastare
              While it might not be of interest to everyone, I would like to announce that on September 26th my family gained a new member. His name is Cael Warner Nogy and
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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                While it might not be of interest to everyone, I would like to announce that on September 26th my family gained a new member.  His name is Cael Warner Nogy and he was 8 pounds 12 ounces, 21 inches long, born by ceaserian.  Everyone is doing well.
                 
                I am starting to play different instruments for him, hoping he makes the decision which instrument he will build first (I imagine he will be out in the shop building in a week or two, just before he starts borrownig the car...)
                 
                Now life gets a little less hectic.  And a little more of an adventure.
                 
                Chris
              • Bennett
                Congratulations Kaz! LCDR Bennett Solberg, Ph.D., FACHE, CDFM Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine/Biometrics Health Services Administration Uniformed
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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                  Congratulations Kaz!

                  LCDR Bennett Solberg, Ph.D., FACHE, CDFM
                  Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine/Biometrics
                  Health Services Administration
                  Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
                  4301 Jones Bridge Road, A2066
                  Bethesda, MD 20814-4799
                  Work: 301-295-9778
                  Work Email: bennett.solberg@...
                  Home: 301-933-2993
                  email: bjsolberg@...

                  --- On Thu, 10/2/08, Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...> wrote:
                  From: Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...>
                  Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] New Addition
                  To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 2:33 PM


                  While it might not be of interest to everyone, I would like to announce that on September 26th my family gained a new member.  His name is Cael Warner Nogy and he was 8 pounds 12 ounces, 21 inches long, born by ceaserian.  Everyone is doing well.
                   
                  I am starting to play different instruments for him, hoping he makes the decision which instrument he will build first (I imagine he will be out in the shop building in a week or two, just before he starts borrownig the car...)
                   
                  Now life gets a little less hectic.  And a little more of an adventure.
                   
                  Chris
                • Patrick Woolery
                  Kaz- The only extant reference I am aware of for tuning a lyre is Hucbald and he indicates diatonic.  (On the other hand, ask someone how to tune a guitar and
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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                    Kaz-

                    The only extant reference I am aware of for tuning a lyre is Hucbald and he indicates diatonic.  (On the other hand, ask someone how to tune a guitar and he will probably tell you "standard E" while anyone who plays knows that there are a lot of different tunings used for specific types of music.)  I'd be really interested to know why you think pentatonic is more accurate than diatonic for folks not influenced by ecclesiastic music.  Not challenging or contradicting, just interested in your  perspective.

                    Part of why I play with the low string away from me is because this is how triangular harps and kanteles are set up.  Just for anyone who wondered why I'd play goofy-handed like that.

                    I have watched the DVD of Bagby reciting Beowulf.  Truth be told, I wasn't that hot on his lyre playing.  His performance is a true feat of amazing memory work, but I can't really get into a recitation that I have to read subtitles to understand.  The interview where he talks about his lyre was very interesting.  That was bonus material.  Really, it is well worth checking out from a library, but if you just want to be entertained, I can't see buying a copy until after you have watched it once. 

                    The great thing about a lyre is that you can take any of several approaches to playing it and it will work.  It isn't a very hard or daunting instrument.  I think it is a great way to introduce someone to music who has not played before.  One of my favorites is Dueling Banjos.  I can play enough of it to be recognized easily enough, though it isn't possible to transition to the higher parts, so you end up repeating phrases from the basic melody.  (I'm also a banjo player.)

                    Perhaps it would be worth someone's time (not me for at least a few weeks, as there's a lot on my plate right now) to put together a series of documents on how to play the lyre and put them here in the Files section.  If nobody else wants to do it, I will try to take it on when life settles down and winter settles in. 

                    -Patrick

                    --- On Thu, 10/2/08, Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...> wrote:
                    From: Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...>
                    Subject: Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!
                    To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 10:18 AM

                    I tune pentatonic because I believe that the rural (pagan, in the actual and not religious definition) peoples tended to tune that way before the influence of ecclesiastic music.


                  • michaeljking2007
                    Congratulations Chris!! Michael ... announce that on September 26th my family gained a new member. His name is Cael Warner Nogy and he was 8 pounds 12 ounces,
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 2, 2008
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                      Congratulations Chris!!

                      Michael

                      --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "Kazimierz Verkmastare"
                      <kaz@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > While it might not be of interest to everyone, I would like to
                      announce that on September 26th my family gained a new member. His
                      name is Cael Warner Nogy and he was 8 pounds 12 ounces, 21 inches
                      long, born by ceaserian. Everyone is doing well.
                      >
                      > I am starting to play different instruments for him, hoping he makes
                      the decision which instrument he will build first (I imagine he will
                      be out in the shop building in a week or two, just before he starts
                      borrownig the car...)
                      >
                      > Now life gets a little less hectic. And a little more of an adventure.
                      >
                      > Chris
                      >
                    • Fabio200--w/ pic
                      Its been a wile since I last visited! I remember people talkign about making a starters song book, or a song video? did that ever happen? Terry :)
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 7, 2010
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                        Its been a wile since I last visited! I remember people talkign about making a starters song book, or a song video?
                        did that ever happen?

                        Terry :)
                      • sca_bard@yahoo.com
                        I have a starter book of sorts in progress.  I got sidetracked with the whole having a baby thing. :)  (Ten weeks old and sleeping 6 hours at a go.  Good
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 7, 2010
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                          I have a starter book of sorts in progress.  I got sidetracked with the whole "having a baby" thing. :)  (Ten weeks old and sleeping 6 hours at a go.  Good baby!)

                          I have to go back and check to see where I was.  I have... 12? 15? songs for different tunings written out, melody only.  I want to go back and put in some accompaniment notes.  As far as the "how to" text, I'll have to see where I left off with that.

                          NB: I'm not presenting it as the One True Lyre Playing Book, just the How I Like to Play My Lyre Book. 

                           - Jamie

                          --- On Sun, 2/7/10, Fabio200--w/ pic <chrysagon200@...> wrote:

                          From: Fabio200--w/ pic <chrysagon200@...>
                          Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!
                          To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 3:42 PM

                           

                          Its been a wile since I last visited! I remember people talkign about making a starters song book, or a song video?
                          did that ever happen?

                          Terry :)


                        • amanda evans
                          This book of yours sounds fantastic... I have created a few melodies but could do with some guidance....Please keep us posted on your progress....
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 8, 2010
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                            This book of yours sounds fantastic... I have created a few melodies but could do with some guidance....Please keep us posted on your progress..... Congratulations on your recent arrival... Amanda


                            From: "sca_bard@..." <sca_bard@...>
                            To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Mon, 8 February, 2010 0:34:53
                            Subject: Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre Music!

                             

                            I have a starter book of sorts in progress.  I got sidetracked with the whole "having a baby" thing. :)  (Ten weeks old and sleeping 6 hours at a go.  Good baby!)

                            I have to go back and check to see where I was.  I have.... 12? 15? songs for different tunings written out, melody only.  I want to go back and put in some accompaniment notes.  As far as the "how to" text, I'll have to see where I left off with that.

                            NB: I'm not presenting it as the One True Lyre Playing Book, just the How I Like to Play My Lyre Book. 

                             - Jamie

                            --- On Sun, 2/7/10, Fabio200--w/ pic <chrysagon200@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                            From: Fabio200--w/ pic <chrysagon200@ yahoo.com>
                            Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres] Lyre Music!
                            To: Anglo_Saxon_ Lyres@yahoogroup s.com
                            Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 3:42 PM

                             

                            Its been a wile since I last visited! I remember people talkign about making a starters song book, or a song video?
                            did that ever happen?

                            Terry :)



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