Lyra Tarhu

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Lyra Tarhu - 2002

Background

The first lyra tarhu was made in 2002 for Ross Daly. It used a small body with 3 playing strings and 9 sympathetic strings. Daly played this instrument up to 2006 when the nak tarhu was created, which then took over the lyra tarhu’s role in his music making. At this point the lyra tarhu was discontinued. In retrospect the lyra tarhu could almost be seen as a faceless prototype for the nak tarhu…….if it wasn’t for it having such a wonderfully individual voice. This voice is currently (2019) being extended and given a new body to inhabit.

Setup

The sympathetic strings ran in a channel under the fingerboard and were tuned by zither pins mounted in the head. The vibrating string-length was standard lyra length of 290mm, and the playing strings arranged for the lyra left-hand technique where the strings are fretted by the fingernails in mid-air, not pressed onto a fingerboard. The main-string tuning pegs were made out of planetary guitar machine heads.

Strings

Soon after he received it, Ross Daly strung the lyra tarhu with horse-hair style strings made out of nylon. The open string pitch range was only a little over an octave (tuned G, D, A) and so horse hair style strings suited the instrument well.

Sound Samples

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Ross Daly playing the lyra tarhu