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Lyre dimensions...

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  • Sheila
    What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet long, but I ve seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often than not... so which
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 13 9:29 AM
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      What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet
      long, but I've seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often
      than not... so which is correct or are they both?
      How big was the Sutton Hoo lyre?
      Thanks,
      Sheila
    • Ken Hulme
      Well the Cologne re-creation that I made (see the Photos under Singing Tree), from Michael s blueprints is just a hair over 18 long and almost 8 wide, and
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 13 10:24 AM
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        Well the Cologne re-creation that I made (see the Photos under Singing Tree), from Michael's blueprints is just a hair over 18" long and almost 8" wide, and not quite an inch thick at the base.  The Trossingen find is  something like 30" long, a hair over 8" wide and again under  3/4" thick at the base, if memory serves.  So the answer to your question is -- YES <grin>.  16"-18" on the small side and I'd say 32-34 on the big side, and 7"-9" wide.


        To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
        From: ladysionann@...
        Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 17:29:39 +0000
        Subject: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre dimensions...

        What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet
        long, but I've seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often
        than not... so which is correct or are they both?
        How big was the Sutton Hoo lyre?
        Thanks,
        Sheila




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      • David Friedman
        ... You might want to take a look at the article webbed at: http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/lyre.html In particular the summary of data at:
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 13 10:59 AM
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          Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Lyre dimensions...
          What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet
          long, but I've seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often
          than not... so which is correct or are they both?
          How big was the Sutton Hoo lyre?

          You might want to take a look at the article webbed at:

          http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/lyre.html

          In particular the summary of data at:

          http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/image/lyre.Fig.3and4.jpg

          That piece was written before the Trossingen lyre, the only complete one surviving, was discovered. It's just under 32" long. Yours would be at the small end of the range.

          You can find a good deal more information, in particular about the Trossingen, on my site at

          http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Articles/More_Articles.html

          The first article there is on making lyres, and there are also cutting patterns for the Trossingen.
          -- 
          
          David Friedman
          www.daviddfriedman.com
          daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
        • Stuart Tingle
          Well, Mine I make specifically for the SCA and the need for a compact lyre that easily goes into a bag to be hauled off to events without taking up lots of
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 13 12:26 PM
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            Well, Mine I make specifically for the SCA and the need for a compact
            lyre that easily goes into a bag to be hauled off to events without
            taking up lots of room or being unwieldy. Thus for that I went with
            one of the smaller documented sizes at 20.5". Small enough to not be a
            bother, but large enough to give decent sound and quite popular
            because of that. I also make 30" lyres and when both are tuned the
            same I've found the only real differences are a slightly richer sound
            from the biggy-sized one and greater volume. But the 30" lyres don't
            sell as well as they cost more and are unwieldy for car or bus.

            Question on my own part. When I first started making the things 3 or 4
            years ago, the only tunings I could find for them were either
            pentatonic or a suggestion from an east coast laurel who used B to G
            and was quite insistent it was accurate; but the tuning most commonly
            mentioned here is G to E. Any thoughts on different tunings? In the
            last few weeks I have gone over to the G to E and find I really prefer
            the richness of that as opposed to the higher tuning. Do we actually
            have any information earlier than say 1600 on what tunings might be?
            or did it come down to what you liked or what worked with songs and
            other instruments in your own are?

            Stu


            --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, Ken Hulme <kenhulme@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Well the Cologne re-creation that I made (see the Photos under
            Singing Tree), from Michael's blueprints is just a hair over 18" long
            and almost 8" wide, and not quite an inch thick at the base. The
            Trossingen find is something like 30" long, a hair over 8" wide and
            again under 3/4" thick at the base, if memory serves. So the answer
            to your question is -- YES <grin>. 16"-18" on the small side and I'd
            say 32-34 on the big side, and 7"-9" wide.
            >
            >
          • michaeljking2007
            The tuning I suggest for the smaller lyres is a C diatonic scale as written down in the 10th century by Hucbold. The G tuning on longer instruments is a nice
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 13 12:53 PM
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              The tuning I suggest for the smaller lyres is a C diatonic scale as
              written down in the 10th century by Hucbold.

              The G tuning on longer instruments is a nice pitch to sing along with,
              like a guitar or Lute, I am just following in the footsteps of DR
              graeme Lawson here who uses this tuning.

              --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "Stuart Tingle"
              <stu.shan@...> wrote:
              >
              > Well, Mine I make specifically for the SCA and the need for a compact
              > lyre that easily goes into a bag to be hauled off to events without
              > taking up lots of room or being unwieldy. Thus for that I went with
              > one of the smaller documented sizes at 20.5". Small enough to not be a
              > bother, but large enough to give decent sound and quite popular
              > because of that. I also make 30" lyres and when both are tuned the
              > same I've found the only real differences are a slightly richer sound
              > from the biggy-sized one and greater volume. But the 30" lyres don't
              > sell as well as they cost more and are unwieldy for car or bus.
              >
              > Question on my own part. When I first started making the things 3 or 4
              > years ago, the only tunings I could find for them were either
              > pentatonic or a suggestion from an east coast laurel who used B to G
              > and was quite insistent it was accurate; but the tuning most commonly
              > mentioned here is G to E. Any thoughts on different tunings? In the
              > last few weeks I have gone over to the G to E and find I really prefer
              > the richness of that as opposed to the higher tuning. Do we actually
              > have any information earlier than say 1600 on what tunings might be?
              > or did it come down to what you liked or what worked with songs and
              > other instruments in your own are?
              >
              > Stu
              >
              >
              > --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, Ken Hulme <kenhulme@> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > Well the Cologne re-creation that I made (see the Photos under
              > Singing Tree), from Michael's blueprints is just a hair over 18" long
              > and almost 8" wide, and not quite an inch thick at the base. The
              > Trossingen find is something like 30" long, a hair over 8" wide and
              > again under 3/4" thick at the base, if memory serves. So the answer
              > to your question is -- YES <grin>. 16"-18" on the small side and I'd
              > say 32-34 on the big side, and 7"-9" wide.
              > >
              > >
              >
            • LM
              Hi: Here s what I got from Ben Bagby when I inquired abut his Beowulf lyre: “The lyre which I am currently using is one of two different models built for me
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 13 5:03 PM
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                Hi:

                Here's what I got from Ben Bagby when I inquired abut his Beowulf lyre:
                “The lyre which I am currently using is one of two different models built for me
                by Rainer Thurau of Wiesbaden, Germany, based on the remains of 2 instruments
                found in a 7th-century alemannic nobleman’s grave in Oberflacht, south of
                Stuttgart. The fragments of one instrument were lost in WWII, but the second
                instrument (in fragmentary form) can be seen at the State Museum in Stuttgart,
                which has also published detailed studies on all the objects found in the grave.
                The instrument was carved from one oak plank, hollowed out and closed up again.
                The dimensions are 70.5cm x 19.5 x 1.5; string length ca. 43. "

                In addition to Bruce-Mitford’s definitive “Sutton Hoo”, I found further
                reference to his reconstruction of the lyre in another book, “The Treasure of
                Sutton Hoo” by Gronskopf. In it, the author describes the recreation of the
                Sutton Hoo instrument:

                “In 1948 the musical instrument was reconstructed as a small, quadrangular
                harp, but additional fragments, originally thought to belong to the roof (of a
                building), proved to be part of the instrument. Newly reconstructed in 1969, it
                is a round lyre, 29-inches long, 8-inches wide, with six gut strings each
                20-inches long, of varied thickness and tension. It has been tuned to a
                pentatonic scale, with a pitch between alto and tenor registers. The new
                reconstruction is supported by comparisons with manuscript illustrations as well
                as with fragments of lyres found on the continent. Beaver hairs were identified
                on the outside of the frame of the instrument and it is believed that it was
                kept and buried in a beaver skin bag with the fur inward. The maple wood
                fragments that led to the reappraisal had originally been boxed and cataloged as
                roof remains, and at that time it was thought that all that survived of the
                instrument had been contained in the bronze bowl. The old reconstruction was
                based on these fragments found in the bowl; many photographs were reproduced,
                and the music was recorded. But even if it was not an accurate reconstruction of
                the one in the Sutton Hoo burial, Dr. Bruce-Mitford maintains that it “is still
                of interest as recreating a type of instrument which it seems did exist in this
                era.”

                Based on this, most of my lyres run between 28" and 30" long 8" to 10" wide and
                about an inch thick. I make them by taking two planks 1/2" thick, hollowing out
                the lower half to form the resonating chamber, and then glueing them together,
                I have posted some files with pictures on this list's site.

                Hope this helps!

                Larry Miller
                Markland Harps
                Cambridge MA USA


                David Friedman wrote:
                >> What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet
                >> long, but I've seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often
                >> than not... so which is correct or are they both?
                >
                >> How big was the Sutton Hoo lyre?
                >
                >
                > You might want to take a look at the article webbed at:
                >
                > http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/lyre.html
                >
                > In particular the summary of data at:
                >
                > http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/image/lyre.Fig.3and4.jpg
                >
                > That piece was written before the Trossingen lyre, the only complete one
                > surviving, was discovered. It's just under 32" long. Yours would be at
                > the small end of the range.
                >
                > You can find a good deal more information, in particular about the
                > Trossingen, on my site at
                >
                > http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Articles/More_Articles.html
                >
                > The first article there is on making lyres, and there are also cutting
                > patterns for the Trossingen.
                >
                > --
                >
                > David Friedman
                > www.daviddfriedman.com
                > daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
                >
              • Patrick Woolery
                I size my lyres based on what I find in the wood shop. I make them all about 24 long because that s a convenient size for a lot of folks (I d find 18 rather
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 17 1:00 PM
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                  I size my lyres based on what I find in the wood shop.  I make them all about 24" long because that's a convenient size for a lot of folks (I'd find 18" rather awkward because that's too small for me).  I also can divide a board evenly into 24" lengths when I buy (for example) a ten footer.  I figured it is within the range of historic lyres without being really a copy of any.  I've made them anywhere from 8" wide to 5" wide with success.  My current favorite is about 5.5" wide and 24" long. 
                   
                  Oh, and I tune to G diatonic.  So, G A B C D E.  I play chords, mostly.  With this tuning, I can play G, C, D, Em, and Am.  I can also make a Csus, but I have no use for it. 
                   
                  -Patrick

                  Sheila <ladysionann@...> wrote:
                  What is a typical size of an Lyre? The one I bought is about 1.5 feet
                  long, but I've seen videos of folks with much bigger ones more often
                  than not... so which is correct or are they both?
                  How big was the Sutton Hoo lyre?
                  Thanks,
                  Sheila




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