Distressed Bowed Lyre

Distressed Bowed Lyre


Many years ago I wanted a bowed lyre, but being such a niche instrument they were very expensive. Instead of trying to buy one, I asked my dad to make me one, and he succeeded with the one pictured. Stealing the tuning pegs, tailpiece, and flattened bridge from an old unneeded violin.

Over the years however, I have not had a suitable place to store the violin bow I use to play it, so it has deteriorated in my dry room as you can see in the picture. Not letting this stop me from making a sample library, I took inspiration from the improv samples Westwood records for their untamed series. I recorded about 1 minute of improv on each note, or at least the ones I could comfortably play.

After some processing and tweaking, I put the samples in Kontakt, and set it so every time a note is played, it starts at a random point in the sample. This means you get a sort of random phrase library which provides a unique performance every time. The downside of this system is it works best if you record it directly to audio in real time, and don’t worry about the MIDI.

I also have it set to pitch down the samples by 3 semitones by default, as I find it sounds better most of the time. You may easily adjust the tune knob up 3 semitones to hear the original pitch. I also recommend trying out -9 semitones, it provides a nice deep sound.


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!


4.0 rating
September 9, 2021

wowowowow this is so good.
cant imagine where to get anything like it. this will make for some nice cinematic cues!
it’s a pity that it doesnt allow me to play it like a string library. nevertheless i like the idea. great and unique sound.



A hand-built bowed lyre phrase library

4.0 rating
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
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