Lyra Viol's Alive!

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Downloadable (.pdf) facsimile music! Performance/workshop schedule

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The lyra viol is a somewhat smaller cousin to the bass viola da gamba.  These bowed instruments, unlike their namesake the modern viola, are held vertically between the legs like a cello and are bowed at waist level. Viols  additionally differ from "modern" string instruments by coming equipped with six or seven strings and frets like a guitar.

The lyra viol is further distinguished from other gambas by the practice of utilizing a large variety of different tuning systems.  This practice enables the performer to make a single lyra viol often sound like several instruments at once and achieve different sonorities and qualities of resonance.  Twenty-two different tunings are found in one single seventeenth century British source alone, The Manchester Lyra Viol collection, and over twice that number have been found overall.

Lyra music is often extremely emotionally and intellectually engaging and presents yet another example of the depth and power of the Elizabethan culture that produced this unusual musical form.  All the written music for the viol "played lyra-way" appears in tablature, a simplified system of notation often preferred by modern beginning guitar players.

For information on the following topics please click on any of the following locations:

A detailed discussion of the viola da gamba: www.vdgsa.org/pgs/traynor1.html

An explanation of of french tablature: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/tablature.html

A comparative chart listing over 25 tunings: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/tabtunings.html

A good source for strings can be found at: www.daniellarson.com

A typical all-lyra viol recital program can be found listed at: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/replist1.html

A fun custom-made puzzle: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/violfindpuz.html

The Viola da Gamba Society of America: www.vdgsa.org

The New York chapter of VdGSA: www.angelfire.com/music/vdgsgny

A great, great site from Joelle Morton: http://www.greatbassviol.com/nlinks.html

FREE SHEET MUSIC in tablature & standard notation: http://www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/score

Workshop/performance schedule for LYRA VIOLS ALIVE!: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/perfsched

To here this round click
here: www.newtunings.com/kidmid/lyraviol/follow/me.html
If you have any questions or addtional information for this page,
please contact David Saphra at: dave @ lyraviol.org