Vital Sounds for Life
The Glocken-Harp: The Singing-Hands Lyre
During my time studying singing therapy I became more and more aware of my own body as “musical instrument” in a specific way. In this way the inner image of the singing person was created: The physical sound is created by vibrations of the vocal chords, gains strength through the resonance of our entire body and is formed in its sound quality through the mouth with the lips.
From this I developed the principle of the bell harp: Two curved plastic sound bowls form a half-open resonance cavity. The seven strings emerge from this cavity. By opening and closing the sound chamber with both hands the sound produced is similar to the human voice in quite varying qualities: warm enveloping to light and open. „The hands begin to sing“.
This totally new acoustic sound producing process originated from research with singing therapists searching for a live sound for work with children, babies and their parents.
The Glocken-Lyre (12, 16, 20 Strings)
This instrument is made according to the same concept as the bell harp. The pentatonic tuned 12-string model has been used in a clinical environment very successfully for many years in therapy with premature babies and sickly infants. Scientific studies and field reports can be provided for those interested. The chromatically-tuned 20-string model is played both in school classes as the first lyre from Grade 3 and by music therapists.
The Soprano Glocken-Lyre (27, 35 Strings)
The sound-formation principle of the bell harp was further developed with this lyre. A body made of two sculpted sound cavities makes it possible to produce a wide range of intonation options, from round and warm to light and silvery. The resonating sound, with its very rich overtones, inspires improvisation and meditation.
A world of sound never heard before opens up the soul and light and warmth begin to flow.
The Solo Soprano Lyre (39 Strings)
I developed the solo soprano lyre in 1982. By means of a special organic construction in the interior of the lyre, I searched for a balance between a light, transparent yet also resonant and a warm sound which was rich in overtones. Through its extended range of pitch from c to d’’’ , this lyre is suitable for both solo playing and for playing in ensembles with various different other instruments.
At the moment I am crafting the solo soprano lyre exclusively in cherry wood; the soundboard is also made of solid or laminated cherry wood.
Types of Wood
Every type of wood differs not only in appearance but also in sound characteristics:
Maple: The sycamore maple has been the preferred sounding wood in use for musical instruments for centuries. The relatively hard and highly flexible wood has a sound which is bright, powerful and light.
Elm: Elm is slightly softer and has an open-pored structure. The sound is warm, soft and “airily” enveloping.
Cherry: Cherry wood is softer, light but very dense in structure. It has a soft sound, with a warmth that flows like water…
I make my own varnish from various natural substances: shellac and tree resins such as mastic and sandarac. Dissolved in spirit, the resulting lack is applied in many coats and finally polished.
As is the case with violins, varnish plays an essential role in the sound quality of lyres as well as providing aesthetic beauty.
The strings of my lyres are made by the master lyre maker Horst Nieder and spun by hand. After tightening, each string is individually tested for sound quality.