The Pontic Lyra Notes

The Pontic lyra (kemenche) has 3 chords.  The ZIL chord plays the higher pitched notes, the MIDDLE chord, and the KAPAN chord which plays the lower pitched notes. 

Monochordia refers to touching one chord with one finger while Diplochordia refers to touching two chords with the one finger.

The following are the music notes:

NTO, NTO#, RE, RE#, MI, FA, FA#, SOL, SOL#, LA, LA#, SI.

The # sign is the diesis and represents a slight change in tone, similar to the difference in tone between the black and white keys on a piano.    


When the finger plays the ZIL chord and the middle chord remains vacant, the combinations for the ZIL chord are as follows.

LA (vacant), SI (1st finger), NTO (2nd finger), RE (4th finger).

If we want to play higher notes, the 2nd finger will come down and touch the same spot where the 4th finger was previously. The 4th finger henceforth corresponds to the note MI.



When the finger touches both the ZIL chord and the MIDDLE chord together, the combinations are as follows:

LA (vacant), LA# (1st finger), NTO (2nd finger), RE (4th finger).

To play higher notes, the same applies as previously.


a) When touching both ZIL and MIDDLE chords, the 4th finger touches only the ZIL chord.
b) The reason why the 1st finger now plays LA# instead of SI, is due to the finger now touching 2 chords instead of one, and it now plays a slightly higher pitch.



When playing MIDDLE chord, the combinations are as follows. When the finger touches both the MI and SI chords at the same time, then we have:

1) MI (vacant), FA (1st finger), SOL (2nd finger), LA (4th finger). The 4th finger here touches only the middle string.
2) MI (vacant), FA (1st finger), SOL# (3rd finger), LA (4th finger). The 3rd and 4th finger touching just the MIDDLE chord.



When the MIDDLE chord is played on it's own, the following applies:

MI (vacant), FA# (1st finger), SOL (2nd finger), LA (4th finger).



For the final chord, the SI chord, the following applies:

a) SI (vacant), NTO (1st finger), RE (2nd finger), MI (4th finger).
b) SI (vacant), ΝΤΟ (1st finger), RE# (3rd finger), MI (4th finger).
c) SI (vacant), NTO# (1st finger), RE (2nd finger), MI (4th finger).


Compiled by mmimis85 a member of the PontosWorld forum.



Related Articles

The Kemenche

The Angeion/Tulum (Pontic Bagpipe)