Saxon Lyre


Busy Mole Music

Ron Cook Studios

The Early Music Shop

Markland Strings

Michael J King  replicas based on specific archaeological finds.

Orphic Airs

Silvershell Musical Instruments

Ælfric Germanic Harp Music  Harps, Owner’s Manual, CD Tutorial

Thurau-Harfenmanufaktur These folks make custom historical harps in addition to their catalog.  They made Benjamin Bagby’s lyre.


Benjamin Bagby/Sequentia

Interview with Benjamin Bagby by Andante Magazine

Biography of Benjamin Bagby on the site for Sequentia, an ensemble he directs

Benjamin Bagby’s Beowulf   He performs Beowulf accompanying himself on a lyre.  I got to see this in Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and it was amazing.  He will perform the whole thing at the Lincoln Center in 2006.  I believe a DVD of his performance will be available after that.

Lost Songs of a Rhineland Harper by Sequentia

The Rhinegold Curse: A Germanic Saga of Greed and Revenge from the Medieval Icelandic Edda by Sequentia

EDDA: An Icelandic Saga, Myths from Medieval Iceland by Sequentia

Tim Rayborn

Ælfric Lord 

Harp Runes From Allfather’s Hall

Songs of the Elder Trow

The Wita

Songs of the Ancient Goths

The Art of Theodish Galdorcraft


Kaingk by Bragod  Welsh Lyre and Crwth music.

Stephen Winstanley 

Avanti Musick


Prittlewell, England

Sutton Hoo Lyre, England

Snape, England

Bergh Apton, England

Morning Thorpe, England

Taplow, England

Scole – Lyre Bridge and Tuning Peg, England – Bridge and tuning peg in the British Museum

Oberflacht, Germany – The most interesting is a real specimen of wood found in an Alamannic tomb of the 4th to the 7th century at Oberflachtf in the Black Forest, and now preserved in the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin (Picture of replica of it in the Met)

Abingdon – Lyre Bow Fragments, England

Cologne, Germany

Kerch, Germany

Hedeby, Germany

Bridges for the instrument have also been found at places as far apart as York and Sweden.

Trossingen, Germany

Anglo-Saxon Lyre Tuning Key with Boar terminal, possibly mid 7th-century, from Gayton, Norfolk, private collection

On Line Articles

The Saxon Lyre: History, Construction, and Playing Techniques by Dofinn-Hallr Morrisson and Þóra Sharptooth

Making a Simple Lyre By Patrick Woolery

The Beowulf Bardic Board: a Lyre by Lavrans Reimer-Møller

The Anglo-Saxon Hearpe by Peter C. Horn (Wiðowinde Issue 115, page 22)

Tuning the Sutton Hoo Instrument by Master Orrick of Romney

Sutton Hoo Cithara by Sir Andras Salamandra

Floregium – instruments contains notes by Þóra Sharptooth on the Sutton Hoo lyre

Tuning the Lyre and Crwth by Bragod

Anglo-Saxon Lyres by Michael J King Several pages with links to archaeological information, lyres he makes, mp3s to hear what they sound like, and how to tune an play them.

Hexachords, Solmization, and Musica Ficta by Margo Schulter  Section 1 has information on tuning a 6 string lyre.

North European Lyre Bragod tunes and plays the lyre MP4 Quicktime video

The Lyre Project by Catnip


Savelli, Mary. The Lyre Handbook: Playing Methods of the Anglo-Saxon Lyre with Directions for Construction.  This contains a good bibliography and exercises in modern musical notation.

Taylor, Ronald Zachary. Making Early Stringed Instruments.

Lawson, G. “Stringed Musical Instruments: Artefacts in the Archaeology of North-West Europe 500 B.C. – A.D. 1200.”     University of Cambridge Doctoral Dissertation, 1980 (unpublished).

Ælfric (Michael Moell). The Germanic Harp Owner�s Manual  This is written for someone who cannot read music.  The exercises are explained in words, and it contains a song based on Cædmon’s Hymn written in tablature.


Bruce-Mitford, R. L. S. “The Sutton Hoo Musical Instrument.”   Archaeological News Letter 1 (1948).

Wrenn, C. L. “Two Anglo-Saxon Harps.” Comparative Literature 14   (1962).

Bessinger, J. “Beowulf and the Harp at Sutton Hoo.” University of Toronto Quarterly 27 (1957).


David Playing the lyre Vespasian Psalter (London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian A. i, f. 30v-31)

David Rex Durham Cassiodorus (Durham, Cathedral Library Ms B. II. 30, fol. 81v)

David Playing His Lyre   Clonmacnois, Ireland. Cross of the Scriptures. South Side. Panel S2

Man Seated playing a Lyre  Sockburn, England. Cross fragments