“Apollo’s Lyre” – an original composition for replica Kithara-style lyre. This piece originally featured on track 1 from my album, "Apollo's Lyre". According to ancient Greek tradition, Apollo was the god of music, and above all, a master of the lyre. Here is the fascinating background to this ancient Greek mythology...
“Hermes was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. The story is told in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. His mother, Maia, had been secretly impregnated by Zeus. Maia wrapped the infant in blankets but Hermes escaped while she was asleep. Hermes ran to Thessaly, where Apollo was grazing his cattle. The infant Hermes stole a number of his cows and took them to a cave in the woods near Pylos, covering their tracks. In the cave, he found a tortoise and killed it, then removed the insides. He used one of the cow's intestines and the tortoise shell and made the first lyre. Apollo complained to Maia that her son had stolen his cattle, but Hermes had already replaced himself in the blankets she had wrapped him in, so Maia refused to believe Apollo's claim. Zeus intervened and, claiming to have seen the events, sided with Apollo. Hermes then began to play music on the lyre he had invented. Apollo, a god of music, fell in love with the instrument and offered to allow exchange of the cattle for the lyre. Hence, Apollo became a master of the lyre” (quoted from Wikipedia).
The concept of my album "Apollo's Lyre", was to restore the sound once more, the Lyres of Apollo – both the large wooden lyre, known in ancient Greece as the Kithara, once favoured by the professional musicians of ancient Greece, and the skin-membrane lyre, known in ancient Greece as the Lyra – the lyre made from a tortoise shell resonator, over which was stretched a soundboard of taut leather.
This piece is in the Ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode...
THE ANCIENT GREEK MODES
The names of musical modes in use today, (e.g. Dorian, Mixolydian etc) although having the same names as the original Greek musical modes, were actually misnamed during the Middle Ages! Apparently, the Greeks counted intervals from top to bottom. When medieval ecclesiastical scholars tried to interpret the ancient texts, they counted from bottom to top, jumbling the information. The misnamed medieval modes are only distinguished by the ancient Greek modes of the same name, by being labelled “Church Modes”. It was due to a misinterpretation of the Latin texts of Boethius, that medieval modes were given the wrong Greek names!
According to an article on Greece in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians, the original ancient Greek names for species of the octave included the following (on white keys):
For what Plato & Aristotle themselves had this to say about these ancient musical modes, please see this fascinating link: