The instrument & it's music
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• Resources for Downloading Lyra Viol Music Tablature •

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.  Fingering patterns yield ever-changing sets of pitches each time a tuning is altered.  In addition to the twenty-two different tunings found in the Manchester Lyra Viol Book, 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.

A final word ...

Alain Veylit's Josquin image
Please bear in mind that music from historical sources is, for the most part, a non-renewable resource. You are invited to explore the world of writing new music in tablature by visting Alain Veylit's site to download Django tablature notation software  (PC only)  - - - -   : (     
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