Classical Numismatics Discussion
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Greek Coins (Moderators: Dino, Meepzorp)  |  Topic: HARP, LYRE AND KITHARA IN CLASSIC COINS 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: HARP, LYRE AND KITHARA IN CLASSIC COINS  (Read 3581 times)
antvwala
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« on: September 27, 2008, 03:57:23 am »

HARP, LYRE AND KITHARA IN CLASSIC COINS

Knowledge of the rules governing the physical tone determined by Pythagoras, allowed to determine the exact length of any string was to have to emit a specific note. This opened the way for the construction of stringed instruments gradually more complex, able to ensure a broad range of harmonies, always perfectly tuned. No wonder, then, if the stringed instruments - harps, and above all, lyre and zither - represented the core of the music of classical Greece. The music of ancient Rome, however, although largely using stringed instruments, gave more emphasis to the brass - trumpets, horns and tube - more in keeping with the spirit of the empire.
The harp, which appears frequently in Egyptian frescoes, it seems very rare in Greek-Roman coinage, though occasionally appears in the painting on Greek ceramics or Roman frescoes.
One of the more traditional representations of the lyre found on a bronze of Judea, attributed to the time of the revolt of Bar Kohba (134-132 BC). This is the initial form of the instrument: it is still devoid of sounding board, has five strings, and the arms seem to be made using two horns.
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antvwala
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2008, 03:57:57 am »

On a drachma of Judea of Bar Kohba, we observe the representation of a instrument very similar to the previous, with three strings, in which the size of the base, which is more massive and perhaps quarry, shows the search for greater sonority by the introduction of a harmonic box.
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antvwala
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2008, 03:58:33 am »

The harmonic box is essential to ensure to the instrument a sound more sweet and harmonious, and also a sound enough to be tied to the winds, without remain overwhelmed.
A simple solution would seem to be assured by the use of a cucurbitacea plant, as noted in small obol of Canusa (South) 300-250 BC, and in a hemidrachm of Teos (Jonia), ca. 250 BC.
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antvwala
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2008, 03:59:10 am »

The solution that seems to have been more welcome - and in fact has continued for at least 4 centuries - is the date of the adoption of a turtle shell: on it overlaps a bovine skin stretch, similar to a drum.  The representation of this lyre, that in the greek world has ever four chords (greek-roman harmony initially was based on tetrachordius la-sol-fa-mi), is found on many Greek and Roman coins, as in this bronze of Thespa (Beozia), 210 BC and in an aureus of August, 27 aC – 14  BC.
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antvwala
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2008, 04:00:02 am »

The oldest Greek lyres had 4 strings and were also Asian and African derivation. Terpandre in sec. VII BC., perfected the 4 strings lyre to 7 strings lyre, preceding the evolution of the system of musical notation, that some centuries after from tetrachorde will turn from a eptachorde, with in this denarius of Papius Celsius,  45 BC.
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antvwala
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2008, 04:00:53 am »

When the level of the artists allowed this, it introduced the sounding box of wood. At this point, it became easy and immediate processing of the instrument: the sounding box and the arms so united in one body and the harp was born. This allowed not only to build instruments of great aesthetic merit, but also to improve so extraordinary sound quality, reaching levels compared with the current violin-making.

Initially, the kithara had strings attached to cash in harmonious way not dissimilar from the lyre, with we see in a 12 ½ litre of Agatocle (Syracuse), 317-289 BC.
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antvwala
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2008, 04:01:31 am »

With the addition of a little bridge between the strings and harmonious plan, it takes a very important step forward in terms of quality and intensity of sound: example is this emidrachme of Alicarnass.
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antvwala
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 04:02:10 am »

Gradually increased the number of strings that came up to a maximum of 12. Finally we solved the problem of ensuring a tension of the strings more precise and easily measurable, and so a more accurate intonation, including the thingummy linked to each string, forerunner of the current “tiracantini”. So that finally the evolution of the lyre came to its completion, with the creation of an instrument stamped by the melodious, with precise intonation and with great versatility. Example is a tetradrachm of Olyntos (Calchidie), 432-348 BC.
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antvwala
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2008, 04:02:59 am »

Both the zither, as the lyre, was usually played holding with one hand, in smaller instruments; the median size were placed in the womb; the greater size were placed on a tripod. The players of kithara and lyre enjoyed great social consensus. Many Roman emperors are grappled with this tool and sometimes were very skilful: among these is one Nero, which beyond its madness and exaggerations of historians, was a musician of great significance.
This instrument was considered by Greeks as the one preferred by the gods.
Good examples are a cystophor of Hadrian (Hierapoli, Phrigia, 117 AC), an aureus and a bronze of Gordianus III  (238-244 AC).


Antvwala
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antvwala
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2008, 04:04:08 am »

NOTES

This text is part of a much more wide on the musical instruments in the ancient world. It was written by me with his friends to www,lamoneta.it. The full text is in
http://manuali.lamoneta.it/MANUALI.html

I ask to excuse my English very incorrect, but unfortunately I don’t know this language, and that the text I wrote on the help of google translator.
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slokind
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2008, 10:16:58 am »

In modern English, the word 'zither', which of course (like, I guess, sitar) comes from Greek kithara, is used for a different instrument, or even more than one different instrument, but the Latin spelling, cithara, or simply a transliteration of the Greek kithara, is used to denote the ancient instrument that you illustrate.
Pat L.
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antvwala
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2008, 10:23:48 am »

Thank you very much, Pat: I immediately made corrections to the text. Smiley

Antvwala
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Rosina B
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2008, 07:13:46 am »

It's very good!
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justinopolitanus
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2008, 12:36:38 pm »

Sicily, Adranon, Ae litra with lyre.
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mursik
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2012, 03:09:16 pm »

Question: Dear colleagues, I can not find on the internet image of a coin. This small bronze. Perhaps Cilicia. On the one hand image lira, and the other with the crown of the goddess in the form of fortification. Can anyone tell me what is this coin?
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