Τετάρτη, 5 Απριλίου 2017

The Lyre Of Megiddo

The "lyre of Har Megiddo" is an instrument etched onto an ivory plaque that was discovered by archaeologist Gordon Loud in the excavations of a royal palace in the ancient city of Megiddo (aka Armageddon) in Israel. One of the interesting things about this image, which appears at the beginning of this video, is that it dates from roughly the time of the biblical King David (slightly before 1000 B.C.) and if David played a harp, as the Tanach (Old Testament) says he did, it was almost certainly an instrument of this sort.

David's instrument, which was called a "kinnor" in ancient Hebrew, had ten strings, and we know that he played it "with his hand" (as opposed to using a plectrum or pick for strumming - 1 Samuel 13:9). Being curious as to what this instrument might have sounded like, I built a replica of it, and that is what I am playing in this video. It is tuned to an F harmonic minor scale, and strung with pure silk. Harps and lyres in ancient time were strung with gut but silk, when it is properly prepared, is equally hard, strong and resonant. 

Was this the sound that lulled troubled King Saul to sleep? We cannot know for sure, but it is possible. If you are curious about this instrument, here is a page on my website that explains a little about its construction and history.

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