Musical Instruments: What Makes A Kid’s Lyre Harp Special?

Buying a musical instrument for your children can help them discover their rhythms as singers and show them just what they can do with a little bit of art, imagination, and classical sound. In this post, we will look at one beautiful instrument your child may love, the lyre – which basically looks like a small harp with its distinct differences. It’s a type of harp with eight metal strings, but sometimes, it could possess nylon strings, too, which has quite a history to it. The lyre of Classical Antiquity was the favorite musical instrument of many people during the early middle ages. Shown in the picture below is a lyre with seven strings on the lap of the musician, the same as the earliest picture of a lyre which appeared in the famous Sarcophagus (used during the Mycenaean occupation) of Hagia Triada.


Lady playing with a lyre harp.


We lay a list of the best-selling lyre harps from Amazon, and we included a detailed description of each lyre harp to give you an idea of what features they have, as they vary from each other. If you are new to the instrument that definitely sounds amazing, this article is an excellent source of information as it will discuss what is a lyre harp, how a lyre harp plays, and more fun facts and details as you read further.

Lyre Harp As An Instrument Of The Ancient Greeks

The lyre harp is best known as being an instrument of the ancient Greeks. It is commonly illustrated as having tuning pegs, the best of which was the chromatic tuner which stands upright and flat on the ground. Chances are, you’ve seen a depiction of an ancient Greek musician playing lyre. It is because the lyre harp 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. By loading it with his musical talent, it produced a different style and note depending on how he used the tuning tool, soundboard, and pegs which still accompany it today.

Continue reading below and learn more about the different facts.


Best Lyre Harp Options

AKLOT 16 Metal Strings Bone Saddle Mahogany Lyre Harp with Tuning Wrench


AKLOT Harp 16 Metal Strings Bone Saddle Mahogany Lyre Harp.

  • The Harp comes with 16 strings and more tone. It allows you to play different tone songs without needing to tune or exchange strings.
  • The harp comes with a gig bag and you can carry it whenever you go camping, traveling or when you go to picnics. Strumming it is fairly simple, and doing so will deliver romantic sounds that are out-of-this-world. But if you’re a beginner, there are videos and picture online to help you maneuver it.

Comes with a gig bag and you can carry it whenever you go camping, traveling or when you go to picnics. The lyre harp for you


Hymnoun Lyre Harp – 10 Metal String Bone Saddle Lye Harp Mahogany String with Tuning Wrench

  • This Lyre Harp 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 advanced songs.
  • It is ideal for beginners and it is portable and can be carried anywhere since you can hang it by your shoulder. That’s why many sellers prefer it.


AKLOT 16 Metal Strings Maple Saddle Mahogany Body with Tuning Wrench Pickup Strings

AKLOT 16 Metal Strings Maple Saddle Mahogany Body Lyra Harp.

  • It has the essential features that make a superior 16 steel string lyre 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.

This aklot instrument is made of solid mahogany material with steel strings. The design looks timeless and definitely durable.


AKLOT, 7 Metal Strings Lye Harp Bone Saddle Mahogany with Tuning Wrench and Black Gig Bag

  • It has the basic features that new students can benefit from.
  • This lyre harp is affordable and ideal for practicing.

AKLOT Lyre Harp, 7 Metal String Bone. The lyre harp for you (see lyre harp reviews)

Lyre Harp Greek Times

The lyre harp is played by itself or accompanied by a singer. It is present in many depictions, as Greeks valued music. Music was a big part of education. Their recitations were accompanied by a lyre. We need more of that type of training in our schools. You can find depictions of it on coins and even in modern times.

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

few fun facts about the lyre harp

Lyre Harp Facts

They have quite a few fun facts about the lyre harp. 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 lyre harp 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 harp has is always changing. Some depictions of lyres have had four strings, others seven, and some as many as ten – but this does not affect how beautiful a lyre sounds.

The lyre harp is ordinarily played like a guitar, you need to pluck it with a pick or a plectrum. Once you have plucked it, you’ll hear the beautiful sound it produces. You use your free hand to silence unwanted strings in each chord. 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.


Lyre Harp History

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 harp 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

In Europe, 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.

While a lyre and a harp 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.

lyre harp was popular amongst the Greeks

About The Lyre Harp

The lyre harp 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 its hollow body and ease of play, it is considered one of the easier instruments to learn.

The God Hermes Is Considered The Creator Of This Stringed Music Instrument

The lyre is also one of the few bronze-age stringed musical instruments out there.  While there are ancient Greek tales that 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 cultures, 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 string instrument though.

The most popular 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 One 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 was called this because of the way that they looked, and the number of strings they had was similar to those of the ancient Greek and ancient Egypt Lyra.

The Ancient Egypt Lyra Was Similar To The Greek Counterpart

The lyre is considered one of the oldest surviving string instruments out there.  Being one of the oldest surviving instruments, these stringed instruments were used for music and it is considered to possibly have had this instrument before continental Europe did.

You can 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

Although some of these weren’t totally considered lyres, 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.


Lyre Harp Types

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 ones are stringed instruments, and while they don’t have a sound chest, you typically played them with your left hand.  The other variants are also played with your left hand.

welsh Crwth lyre hap

Welsh Crwth

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 that transmits sound outwards. You typically play this one with your left hand.


Yoked Lutes

Then there are yoke lyres. Yoke lyres are called lyres, but they’re really yoked 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 compact, and also put together.

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


Why A Child Might Like One

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 one.


Lyre Harp Portability

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 it out today, and you’ll see your kid take it with you.


A Little Less Complex And 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 one today and watch them learn and grow. Chances are, they will pick it up fast, and then they will be a prodigy.


Lyres Are Inexpensive

You can find quite a few lyres online. Some only cost around $20. If you want a wooden, more enhanced and authentic one, 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.


Great Music

Kids may like lyres due to their beautiful sounds. They can be a great addition to a band or as a solo act. You can give this as a gift to your kid as their first musical instrument.


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, it can teach them both skills easily.


Lyres Or Harps Are Decorative

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

lyre harp is decorative. It goes well in any household.

Lyre Harp Conclusion

Who else is no longer confused about what is a lyre harp 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.


Lyre Harp FAQs


Why was the lyre harp important centuries ago? Why was the lyre or harp important in Greek mythology?

The lyre harp 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 or harp mean in the Bible?

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

ancient lyre harp


How many strings does a lyre harp have?

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

How does it 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 easy to learn to play one?

Playing the lyre is not as challenging as playing the piano. You place it on your lap as you sit or walk. It is ideal for people of any age. Your kids can even learn through a tutorial video.

lady playing lyre harp

How much does a beginner one cost?

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

How does it 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.

What is the difference between a harp and a lyre?

Which lyre harp is best for beginners?

How do you read lyre notes?


Is a lyre the same as a harp?
What type of instrument is a lyre harp?
Is the lyre still used today?
Is a lyre a solo instrument?
What is a harp sound called?

Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Patrick Magtaan

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