What Is A Lyre Harp And Why Do Children Like It?

Buying an instrument for a child can help them discover their musical talent and show them just what they can do with a little bit of imagination. In this post, we will look at one instrument your child may love, the lyre. It’s a type of harp that has quite a history to it.

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

We made a list of the best-selling Lyre harp from Amazon, and we included a detailed description for each one to give you an idea of what features it has. If you are new to the instrument, this article is an excellent source of information as it will discuss what is a lyre harp, how it plays, and more fun facts s as you read further.

What Is A Lyre?

A lyre is an instrument that’s best known as being an instrument of the ancient Greeks. Chances are, you’ve seen a depiction of an ancient Greek playing lyre. It is because the lyre was quite remarkable, along with the other stringed instruments of the time. Other instruments include the chelys, the kithara, and the phorminx. In Greek legends, Hermes created these instruments from a tortoise.


AKLOT 16 Metal Strings Bone Saddle Mahogany Lyre Harp - (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


  • The Lyre Harp comes with 16 strings and more tone. It allows you to play different tone songs without needing to tune or exchange strings.
  • It comes with a gig bag and you can carry it whenever you go camping, travelling or when you go to picnics.


Vangoa 10 Steel String Lyre Harp - (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


  • It is made of high quality Mahogany wood and it produces a clearer, richer and more complex tone than plywood lyres.
  • It has 10 strings which you can use to try more advance song.
  • It is ideal for beginners and it is portable and can be carried anywhere.


AKLOT 16 Metal Strings Maple Saddle Mahogany Body Lyra Harp - (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


  • It has the essential features that makes a superior 16 steel string lyra harp and it has a unique design that makes it more comfortable to use.
  • It includes a tuning wrench, a black gig bag and a 45 days quality and satisfaction warranty.


AKLOT Lyre Harp, 7 Metal String Bone - (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


  • It has the basic features of a good lyre, that new students can benefit from. It is affordable ideal for practicing.

In Greek times, the lyre is played by itself or with a singer. The instrument itself is present in many depictions, as Greeks valued music. Music was a big part of education. We need more of that type of training in our schools. You can find depictions of the lyre on coins and even in modern times.

While you won’t be able to summon a Greek god with a modern lyre, it makes for a great instrument and an excellent way to introduce your kids to the world of music.

Source: publicdomainfiles.com

Fun Facts About Lyres

What is a lyre, you might ask? They have quite a few fun facts about them. Let’s look at a few of these facts.

The word “lyre” comes from the word “lura.” Lura means a stringed instrument that has a tortoiseshell sounding board.

Indeed, the original lyres did come from tortoises. Not only that, but sheep guts were used to make strings. Nowadays, no animals get harmed in the making of lyres.

The amount of strings a lyre has is always changing. Some depictions of lyres have had four strings, others seven, as some as many as ten.

To play the lyre, you need to pluck it with a pick.

When you look at a classic lyre, it has a body that’s hollow.

Many lyre players of ancient Greek times were male, but a few female players do exist.

The oldest lyre that has survived in modern times was found in Scotland back in 2010. This lyre is supposed to be over 2,300 years old. This lyre has been through a lot.

A lyre can be a part of the zither family, but not all people consider that to be the case.

The lyre is called by more than just the lyre, particularly in Europe. There, it can be referred to with names such as gue, cruit, rote, crwth, and much more. No matter what language you pick, however, the lyre is still a lyre.

The lyre is known by other names in other countries as well.

In Beowulf, they do mention a lyre. As you know, Beowulf is a classic epic poem that is an example of early storytelling.

While not played that often anymore, some places in northeast Africa still play with it.

So, is a lyre a harp? While they may be classified as the same, there are differences—the most notable is how the strings are. With a lyre, the strings go over a bridge. With a harp, the strings stay inside the body of the harp. Think of a lyre as more of a guitar than a harp.

Source: en.m.wikipedia.org

Places Where Lyres Existed 

This was popular amongst many ancient Greek storytellers, and it was popular in ancient Greek storytelling to go along with the stories that were told.  It is considered the oldest surviving stringed instrument, and with the hollow body and ease of play, it’s considered one of the easier instruments to learn. 

The god Hermes is considered the creator of this stringed music instrument. It is also one of the few bronze age stringed musical instruments out there.  While there are ancient Greek tales which say this is one of the main string instruments out there and is one of the oldest surviving instruments in the world, there are other origins possibly than the ancient Greek lore. It was a key part of Greco Roman culture because in both Greco Roman culture, they were used to tell stories and such.  These were called lyres of course, but the Greco Roman Lyres were not the first of their kind. They did popularize this type of sting instruments though. 

The most popular of lyra in this area was considered the Cretan lyra. The Cretan lyra looks similar to many other lyra out there, and the number of strings was similar too. The Cretan lyra was called this because it was founded in Crete, a part of Greece. 

You could find lyres in different parts of the world too. In continental Europe, there was the Calabrian lira, which was a bowl-shaped lyre that many people used to play. A Calabrian lira was seen in Italy for the most part, and it is played like other lyres.  These were called lyres because they were played in the same way bowled lyres were played, and Calabrian Lira were called this because of the way that they looked, and the number of strings they had were similar to those of the ancient Greek and ancient Egypt lyra. 

The ancient Egypt lyra was similar to the Greek counterpart and is considered one of the oldest surviving string instruments out there.  Being one of the oldest surviving instruments that these stringed instruments were used for music and it is considered to possibly have had this instrument before continental Europe did. 

You did see this in some parts of northern Europe too, and these stringed instruments were incredibly popular amongst many in that area. The Normans in particular loved the Saxon lyre, which was a small lyre seen in many Anglo Saxon areas. In Northern Europe, this was brought to the Anglo Saxon people, and became known as the Saxon lyre amongst many. The Anglo Saxon lyre is considered one of the most important types of stringed instruments that were in the world during that time. 

They were popular in parts of the middle east too, not just in Ancient Egypt. Some parts of the middle east, including so; me areas in Africa, would play similar instruments that were called lyres by many. 

There have been composers for music on the lyre too, including Michael Levy 

A lot of the instruments that were called lyres weren’t’ totally considered lyres, but they were similar enough to lyres that they were given the name. They have been around for thousands of years, and offer a lot of fun, enjoyment, and different ways to play. 

Types Of Lyres 

There were quite a few that were called lyres, and it’s important to understand that there were some which were quite different from the ancient Greek lyres. The traditional lyres are stringed instruments, and while they don’t have a sound chest, you typically played them with your left hand.  The other variants of these lyres are also played with your left hand. 

Source: flickr.com

There were bowed lyres, one of the most popular being the welsh Crwth lyre. The welsh crwth lyre involved manipulating the vibrations of the strings with the bow, and it moved through the sound chest outwards. They were called lyres since the Welsh Crwth were played like that. They are also called rote or crowd lyres, since they did have a bridge which transmits sound outwards. You typically play this one with your left hand. 

Then there are yoke lyres. Yoke lyres are called lyres, but they’re really yoke lutes. The number of strings on yoke lyres is the same as some of the other stringed instruments with the same name, but the vibrations of the strings are transmitted through a longer neck. The long neck transmits the vibrations in different manners out of the sound chest.  The sound chest on these tends to also be more compacted, and also put together. 

Overall, the number of strings and the sound chest on these instruments is very similar, and you can get a lot of fun and enjoyment out of playing these stringed instruments. 

Why A Child Might Like A Lyre

When your child gets older, they may express interest in learning an instrument. There are quite a few instruments they can learn, such as a guitar or a piano. But if you want something different, a lyre may be one to consider. Here are a few reasons why your child may like a lyre.

The Lyre Is Portable

With your kid’s lifestyle, they may need an instrument more portable. A lyre is quite compact, and you can bring it wherever you go. Try the lyre out today, and you’ll see your kid take it with you.

It’s Easy To Learn

A lyre is a little less complex to learn than a guitar but still requires some skill. Your talented kid will pick it up fast, yet take a good time to master it. Give your kid a lyre today and watch them learn and grow. Chances are, they will pick it up fast, and then they will be a prodigy.

They Are Inexpensive

You can find quite a few lyres online. Some only cost around $20. If you want a wooden, more authentic lyre, it still doesn’t cost that much. It’s only a small price for a great instrument. Replacing the strings shouldn’t be hard at all, either.

It Sounds Great

Kids may like lyres due to their beautiful sounds. They can be a great addition to a band or as a solo act.

Great For Practicing Singing

Your kid can be a master bard by grabbing a lyre and singing along. If you’re ready to show off your kid’s vocal cords, a lyre can teach them both skills easily.

They Are Decorative

These lyres also look good as a decoration piece when your kid is not using it. It goes well in any household, guaranteed. If you’re interested, try it out and see what it can do for you.

Source: flickr.com


Who else is no longer confused about what is a lyre and what it is not?

The lyre is an instrument with a fantastic history and many chances for you or your kid to show off what it does. If your kid needs a lyre, you’ve come to the right place. Look at a few lyres and see which one is the right fit for your kid. It’s not only a great way to unlock your kid’s potential for music, but also an excellent way for them to learn more about the history of Ancient Greece. Try a lyre today and see what it can do for you and your entire family.


Why was the lyre important?

The lyre was extremely important in Greek mythology as Hermes used it to steal 50 sacred cattle from Apollo’s herd. Back then, it was made out of strings, gut, and tortoiseshell.

What does lyre mean in the Bible?

Playing the lyre, sometimes as a poetry accompaniment, means that people are trying to drive out evil spirits. The Levites used to play it in temples.

Source: flickr.com

How many strings does a lyre have?

A lyre is a seven-stringed instrument. In the past, however, versions with four and ten strings also came out.

How does a lyre make a sound?

The sounds are produced when you strum the strings with your fingers. The tension on the strings tends to alter the tunes.

Is it hard to learn to play the lyre?

Playing the lyre is not as challenging as playing the piano. It is ideal for people of any age.

Source: flickr.com

How much does a beginner harp cost?

Harps differ in rates depending on how big they are, what type of wood used, or how many strings they have. Still, a 12-string baby harp can cost as low as $144.

How does a lyre work?

A lyre is similar to a modern guitar, in the sense that there is a bridge underneath the strings. Once strummed; therefore, this bridge will receive the vibration and distribute it to the rest of the instrument.


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Last Updated on May 18, 2021 by Marie Miguel

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