Thursday, July 18, 2013

A thought about the Orphic Lyre

Orpheus is described as having played on a lyre. This makes sense, given the time period he comes from. For those unfamiliar, a lyre looks like this:


 Remember, he was described as the greatest musician of the ancient world (who wasn’t a god).

If we follow that idea, then we might say that there is one musical instrument that moves each age of music, the Orphic Lyre of its time. What is the musical instrument that moves each of the ages?  

I think it may have gone something like this:  The lyre to the lute to the violin to the church pipe organ to the harpsichord to the piano to the trumpet to the saxophone to the guitar to the banjo to the guitar again to the piano to the electric guitar which quickly became the distorted electric guitar which reigned for quite some time, then the synthesizer, then the electric guitar again, then to the ukulele (thank god this one was brief), and now back to the electric guitar.  

The spirit remains the same, though—what is the instrument the young man or woman reaches for at age 15 when they first feel like they have something they want to say to the world? That’s the Orphic Lyre of its age.

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