A new Music Instrument begins its Journey

The biography of the Gärtner-Lyre

Altes Goethanum Edmund Pracht W. Lothar Gärtner
W.Lothar Gärtner to build this string
instrument. After so long and an almost
forgotten past, to have found an
appropriate contemporary form for
this legendary instrument is the achievement
of W.Lothar Gärtner. A generation ago,
mindful of primary musical
phenomena he gave the Lyre its new form
which has sounded and found an echo all
over the world since then. The
holistic concept uniting form and
sound, in harmonious
metamorphosis made it welcome
in various fields
of life and work.
The originators
of the Gärtner Lyre
Edmund Pracht
music teacher
and therapist
who sought
a new instrument
for his work
with children
with special needs,
W. Lothar Gärtner
sculptor and
instrument maker
who taking up
a simple sketch
by his friend,
created the new

(photo 1948)
erste Kinderleier

Formative Influences:
Above: First Goteanum in
its rounded forms, and the
Gärtner Lyre with round
form Below:Second Goetheanum in angled
crystalline forms and the
Gärtner Lyre with angled crystalline form.

geschnitzte Kinderleier

The Lyre in Mythology

The Lyre may still be
vaguely known to us
as an ancient instrument like
the Greek Cithare or Celtic Harp
for instance,
whos melodies died away
long since.
Old traditions say its
music had a beneficial and
harmonising effect and had been
used in the Mystery Dramas.


Birth of the "new" Lyre

Those were the qualities
which the music therapist
Edmund Pracht was looking for
when he inspired his friend

Sculptor and Music Instrument Maker
W. Lothar Gärtner

Inwardly moved an impressed
by the building of the Goetheanum
W. Lothar Gärtner
Neues Goetheanum sought, in his own creativity,
first to fathom essential
being which expresses
itself in musical phenomena,
then to express it in a
threedimensional form-gesture:
to transpose Spirit and Soul into
the language of form, to shape
the music instrument to be an
organ was his endeavour, rather
than an instrument or tool or
worse still, a sound producing machine
Kesselpauke Taoleier Wooden Kettledrum
with a
Lute-like shape
Tao-Lyre, built for
meditative mood based on
b, a, e, d recommended
by Rudolf Steiner
Fired by that idea,
he did not stop with the Lyre,
but evolved other instruments
by metamorphoses of form:
Smaller and larger arches of
Tubular Bells, up to more than
2 1/2 metre high were designed,
sets of bellshaped Bells in
wooden stands or hand-held
frames, types of Xylophone,
a lute-shaped wooden Kettledrum,
a Tao-lyre with a shape
all of its own, born from
Rudolf Steiner's indications
for meditations in music.
He wrestled also with ideas
for other kinds of string
and wind instruments.

A fully-fledged
Concert String
Instrument and more ......

As the large family
of Lyre shapes might
indicate, the Lyre
and its further development
became Lothar Gärtner's chief
concern and lifework.
Of all the instruments
this one found the
greatest echo and response.
First at Dornach
and Arlesheim, in the
vicinity of the Goetheanum,
then throughout the world
circles of Lyre playing
musicians began to form,
fostering musical
activities and
the development
of this instrument.
Classic compositions
or music arranged
for the Lyre began
to appear. In such
circles the Lyre is
played Solo, in
Ensemble or as
a whole orchestra
and it is often used
together with the
human voice or other
instruments and has
now a firmly
established place as a
concert instrument.
But due to its intimate
musical quality, the
Lyre was soon
recognised to be
eminently suitable in
the realm of
educational or
therapeutic work, as it
had indeed been
originally intended by
Edmund Pracht. Hence
music therapists,
remedial teachers,
teachers and
Kindergarten teachers
value this instrument
in particular

From the beginning
to today

Since 1926
and the partnership
of W.Lothar Gärtner
and Edmund Pracht
in Dornach
Switzerland, the
making of the Lyre
grew via a simple
workshop into the
well equiped Master
Workshop of today
Already as
early as 1938 W.Lothar
Gärtner established
the Master title specific
to Lyremaking when
he was the first to
pass such a Master
Examination. His son
followed in the family
tradition, and as
Master and director of
the firm from 1980 first
ran the business with
his mother Elisabeth
Gärtner, herself a
Music Teacher and
Eurythmsit, and later
on with his wife
Karin Gärtner.

Masterbuilt quality

We believe
the Gärtner Lyres
remain unequalled in
form, execution,
material selection,
workmanship and
sound quality,
although there are
many copies and
similar instruments. In
short, they are the
original Lyre, built by
master hands. Many
thousands of
instruments have been
sold and left our
workshop in Konstanz
for all over the world.
No doubt this success
is due to our continued
effort to create best
quality by constant
improvement and

This Double Bass Lyre
was part of the
1928 World Exhibition
in London.
Large set of Tubular Bells,
size 2.55 x 1.80 metres.
The versatility shown by
these instruments,
demonstrates Lothar Gärtner's
creative potential and capacity