Characteristics of the instruments
Finding the instrument that suits you best
The round form:
Lyres in these rounded forms have an expansive full bodied tone. The rounded shape of the resonating body produces a contemplative, moving, modulated tone.
The angled-crystalline form:
Lyres in these forms tend to have a cool, dear and austere tonal character. They impart a lightfilled quality to the tones with an affinity to dear consciousness.
The Smaller Instruments
The Children´s Lyre (round form)
For small children up to the seventh year. There are two different types of these round Children's Lyres (see photograph). Being tuned in the pentatonic scale and because their shape is pleasing to small hands, the instruments are eminently suitable for small chilren. The pentatonic tuning avoids discord and therefore any sequence of tones will produce harmony and so encourage musicality.
This instrument can be used like a Chilren's Lyre. The main differences being a more simple construction endosing the resonant body producing a fuller but less precise tonal quality. In keeping with the requirements of the child's musical development the instrument can be retuned from a pentatonic to a C - major diatonic scale. The Wingkantele is particularily suited for musicmaking with groups of children and for encouraging musical creativity.
This instrument is recommended when musical development has progressed to the great and small third, the major and minor moods, when it becomes possible to play familiar pieces of music. The Winglyre has a full chromatic range of two octaves in Soprano (c'-c''') or Alto (c-c'') and the larger gap between strings can easily accommodate an adult hand.
Small Descant Lyre (rounded form)
This instrument has a range of three octaves from g-g'''. This larger range permits a sweeping or rippling style of harp-like playing. The high tension of the strings produces a dear and precise tone and encourages an energetic fast moving style.
Small Soprano Lyre
For many and particularily schoolchildren, this is the classic instrument to start at the level of chromatic music. lt has twent seven strings with a range from g-a'' and is available in various finishes (see subsequent pages). This Small Soprano Lyre has a varied and colourful tonal range.
Small Alto Lyre (rounded form)
This Small Alto Lyre is already the same size as the Large Soprano Lyre. The comparatively large body of the instrument with a tonal range from G-c'' creates a low full bodied tone. This makes it especially suitable in choral type music, complementing for instance Small Soprano or Small Descant Lyres. When choosing this instrtmentthe size of the hand is a necessary consideration.
The Large Instruments
Descant Lyre (angled-crystalline form)
This instrument has a large range of four octaves. Sound capacity stretches from very bright sparkling tones to a sonorous lower range. This makes for a particularily attractive harp-like configuration allowing large interval sequences. The crystalline form of this Lyre produces a strict yet graceful tonal character which one might describe as starlike, brilliant, sparkling and at other moments like veiled light dispersing. The Descant Lyre is an outstanding concert instrument eminently suitable for performances of the advanced musician: playing together with others or accompanying song, dance, Eurythmy or for instance, providing musical support for the imaginary world of Fairy Tales.
Sopran Lyre (angled-crystalline form)
Tonal range from c-c''' is over three octaves, which is three quarters of the range of the Large Descant Lyre. Tone quality in keeping with the crystalline form is dear and precise but less sonorous than the Descant. The Soprano Lyre produces quite firm notes in the lower range approaching Alto.
Alto-Tenor Lyre (angled-crystalline form)
While the Tenor-Bass Lyre can only be played when standing up, the Alto-Tenor Lyre is the instrument with the lowest register that can still be played while sitting. lt needs to be played with a firm and determined touch and its sound will provide strong animated support and accompaniment. The crystalline form engenders a bold unequivocal tone gesture providing a more secure and restful base than the more melodic flow of a round Alto Lyre. Its character makes it a suitable instrument for ballad-like dramatic performance or as an accompanying instrument for singing.
Soprano Lyre (round form)The characteristics of the round Soprano Lyre are similar to those of the Alto but is at home among the higher light-filled notes, while the Alto emphasises the darker lower sounds. All three types: Descant, Alto and round Soprano Lyres are well suited for accompanying singing. All the large instruments are eminently suitable for the fundamental study of music as set out in Elisabeth Gärtner's introductory booklet ,,Aus der hohen Schule des Leierspiels" (not yet translated 1997). They are ideal for solo performances or concert ensemble, accompanying dance or Eurythmy and are unsurpassed for creative improvisation.
Alto Lyre (round form)
Their round classical shape promotes a warm ton quality which unfolds fully in the lower range. They are appropriate for many musical purposes particularily a flowing moving melodic style.
Large Kantele, Tenor Kantele and Wingkantele (Alto)
The large Kantele can be tuned either diatonically or chromatically, and has a range from e-d''' in the Soprano range and E-d'' in Alto. The Tenor Kantele, tuned diatonically reaches from contra A to c''. The Wingkantele (Alto) can be tuned diatonically or pentatonically with a tonal range from c-e' or d-b' respectively. These Kanteles have a good sound volume due to their comparatively large enclosed resonant body and are ideal for beginners. They are recommended for music in groups, such as in school classes. They are simple to play and yet produce a significant musical effect which makes them very appropriate instruments for music therapy and in work with physically or mentally handicapped or blind people. (See the contribution by the music-therapist Martin Jung in the last chapter.)
Tenor - Bass Lyre
At present this is the largest instrument we build. Its particular sound volume permits a great range of modulation from light and bright tones to the lower sounding notes. This great variety of tonal modulation reflects in the many ways the instrument can be used.