KOSTAS DIMITRIADIS

Taqasim Lyra


My father playing Pontian Lyra or Kemence

Description of lyra or Kemence
The neck, stem and body of the Black Sea Kemence are carved out of a single piece of wood. Its shape, however, is entirely different. As with other folk instruments, it is impossible to speak of a standard size of Black Sea Kemence. However, those used by professional musicians and the like tend to be about 56 cm long. The body, with its straight sides and flat back is usually made out of plum or juniper wood. The thin chest area is made out of fir or spruce. In order for the strings to be able to cope with the pressure from the bridge, a raised dome travels the length of the body. The pegs are quite small, and attached at the front of the instrument. It is played by touching the strings with the finger tips. If standing, the player holds the instrument in the air with his left hand. If seated, he rests it between his knees.