The Pontic lyra is the eminently popular musical instrument of the Greeks of Pontos and belongs to the “archer” string musical instruments, namely including arc (commonly bow pontiac: Toxaris). The length ranges from 55 to 60 centimeters.
The Pontic lyra is a stringed musical instrument. Tuned “in quarters” and accompany singing and dancing. Distinguished by the uniqueness of fialoschimis form with a long neck and oblong soundboard, which allegedly has not changed since his first appearance. Typically it was handled and played in a way that shows characteristics of Byzantine origin.
When using the instrument the Pontius lyra player was playing either standing or seated. More commonly, however, he would lie in the middle of the circular dance playing cheerfully and stimulating dancers.
The Pontic lyra reportedly also named kemetzes (male), or kementze (female), a name according to researchers likely to be derived from the Persian word “Camacho” which appeared as a kind of lyre in northern Persia in the 10th century (AD), without ignoring the possibility that it derives from the ancient Greek word racer (=boat) or the verb kelomai (=urge) in the Pontian lyra became better known in Greece after the Pontian genocide and totalitarian uprooting in the period 1922-1923.
Important information about the origin of the Pontic lyra was given by the French composer and music historian Louis Antoine Vidal (Vidal Luis Antoine) who in his great three-volume work has included construction of musical instruments from almost all historical periods as well as musicians and performers (musicians).
In particular the Pontic lyra resembles with the string instruments of the West (Europe) e.g. with Pocket (Pochette) of France and the kit (Kit) in England from the 16th century until the late 18th century were the flat countryside musical dance instruments, giving the additional information that the triangular head of the Pontic lyra is religious character symbolizing the Holy Trinity.
Another great musician and also researcher, teacher and writer of ancient, Byzantine and western (European) music is the Archbishop of Durres Chryssanthos whose origins were from Madytos. Chrisanthos characteristically notes that since the mid-15th century there are three types of lyres.
1. The three-stringed lyre, which was the sole instrument of the Greeks of Pontus.
2. The four-string lyre, developed in the West and was named violin.
3. The seven-stringed lyre, which bore the arabic-persian name Keman or text, that perhaps this was originally an organ of the Pontic Greeks who used it in very formal celebrations.
Finally other historians consider the Pontic lyra to be a variation of the stringed of the arab palace Rempramp.
The Pontic lyra consists of the following parts: Main body, components and bow.
Material the lyra is made of
The most common material of the soundboard of the Pontic lyra is wood “kokkymelou” (plum) and tutu (mulberry), or walnut, etc., while the lid is pine wood. The direction of the wood grain of the lid is perpendicular and the lid is positioned differently depending on the lyra player (kementzetsi) if he is left-handed or right-handed, as the density of the growth rings (water) varies from one to the other side. The vessel lyre can be constructed in various ways. A vessel may be carved (i.e. carved piece of wood) or gluing of solid surfaces (side, back) or by gluing several small portions of different woods (like the speaker of a bouzouki). The latter method is called “togramali”.
The fibers are Toxaris horse tail hair and called “tsars” (tsharia).
The dominant features of the Pontic lyra special position held by the constructor. Theoretically it is the protagonist, not only its existence but also its participation in the various events of the Pontic cultural scene, in particular the Pontiac stylistic idiom thus reaching a high quality music creation. Thanks to this the popular traditional knit fabric can express all the emotions in rhythmic dance patterns, and great musical forms that excite the bodies of mice in vigorous rhythmic dances in mixed and unequal measures, the Pontian give with vividness the feeling of mental exaltation.
Notes of speech B. Architektonidi, Founder and Director of Palladium Conservatory of Athens, on “The Importance of the Pontic lyra in our cultural heritage”, Argiroupolis 2005
Folklore Municipal Museum of Helliniko
File Union Pontiacs Argiroupolis
Paul D. Chairopoulos, “Lyra”)