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The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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The stringing of the lyre (1)

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05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

Greek Archaic Age
Greek Classical Age
Iconographic tradition

From the seventh century on, Greek lyres were commonly stringed by winding the string round the yoke and binding in some kind of solid piece that the player could push up or down to adjust the tension. Sometimes it seems to have been a straight slip of wood or some other hard material. This is the same means of tuning as was used for the early Mesopotamian lyres.

From the sixth century we also find examples of a method used in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the New Kingdom and still employed in East Africa. The strings are wound on the crossbar over strips of cloth, leather or other material, which sometimes appear as quite bulky bundles.


West 1992, 61West, Martin L. Ancient Greek Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992.

Links (external links will open in a new browser window)
Cf. Mesopotamia and the Greek music (1)
Cf. The spread of the harp (1)
Cf. The spread of the Linus-song (1)
Cf. The spread of the lute (1)
Cf. The spread of pipes (1)

Erik van Dongen

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