The Lynda Lyre is a 22 stringed diatonic instrument that is great for travel and music therapy use. So unlike the Reverie harp which is a pentatonic instrument, or a "regular" lyre which is chromatic and more complex, with the Lynda Lyre you can play harp music! So yes, it plays the same way as a harp would.
So how did I find this instrument?
I was looking for a harp that is compact and lightweight and did quite some research to find something that both has a big enough range as well as a decent sound. It has the C as the bass note, which is super handy, and not something you will find often - a lot of times, F is the lowest note. C gives more depth and possibilities for playing.
Technically, the Lynda Lyre is not a harp, but a lyre due to the way it is built, but the sound is the one of a harp and I can transfer my harp playing skills 1:1 - just the way you hold it is a bit different (strings are on the other side). It does however sound beautiful.
Re Photo: Here I added a photo of my 27 string Lewis Creek Nightingale and the Lynda Lyre for comparison of size. The Nightingale is 3.7kg and the 22 string Lynda Lyre only about 2kg. Its dimensions are also more compact - yet it has a similar range and the same bass C!
Dimensions: 71 x 35cm. Weight 2kg. (The variation with levers would be about 3.2kg, so a lot heavier!)
It works very well to play it with the strap while standing or strolling around! Many harps are too heavy for that, but with 2kg, it is doable!
Should I get levers?
I did choose the variation without levers, as that saves a lot of weight and money. But I still have my Lewis Creek Harp for other occasions and I wanted something small I can easily put in a bag and go into the forest, or fly with. Sure, I can bring my bigger travel harp into nature, but after walking for an hour, I do notice the weight - and let's face it, sometimes we don't want to bring our fancy therapy instrument and protect it from the scratches and dents that it will get in the woods etc.
So, back to the question of levers, if this is your only instrument and you want to change keys often, I might suggest you get the levered version - if weight is not a concern for you. You can off course retune the strings to other keys but that isn't as quick and comfortable as having levers. On a side note, it is not possible to install the levers later, as the construction needs to be built differently from the start.
For some it might simply be a choice of finances - there is a huge price difference.
Nylon or wire strings?
Also, there is the choice between nylon or wire strings. I am a fan of nylon, as my harp has that and wire strings have a too long sustain for me personally and you would need to play with your nails. But that is a personal preference what sound you prefer and what your playing style is. It does make quite a difference. See the video on the left has nylon strings, and the one on the right has wire strings. You can also hear a sound file of each on the website below.
Kit or finished instrument?
You can buy the finished instrument or a kit to build yourself at home. Have a look at the PDF instruction and see for yourself if this is something you are comfortable doing. I chose the finished instrument as I love to have a perfectly crafted instrument and it would have been quite challenging for me to built myself, even with wood working experience from building two harps in a group setting - alone without instructor is different though. But doing a kit saves you money and it might be a fun project for you to build at home, if you have the space, skills and the tools for it.
Where to buy?
Here is the link where to order and have a closer look at the instrument:
Nylonstrings without levers: https://www.harpkit.com/22-string-diatonic-lyre
Nylonstrings with levers: https://www.harpkit.com/Lynda-Lyre-with-Levers
Can I buy this anywhere outside the US / Is there a retailer in Europe?
I do not know any other source than Harpkit to buy this from. So, if you live in Europe like me, you would need to ship and import it from the US. I did that and it took about 7 weeks from US to Germany but that might have to do with the current global situation and delayed shipping. There was about 20% customs/tax fee for importing. This depends on your country.
If you have any further questions, please contact the makers of this instrument at harpkit.com!