The Archaeology of Sound, Acoustics & Music: Studies in Honour of Cajsa S. Lund

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 3

The North Germanic Lyre and the Baltic Psaltery: A Neurological Explanation for their Different Tunings

Timo Leisiö

The first part of the article studies the ways in which various tunings of the European six-stringed lyre and the five-stringed psaltery activate the auditory neurons. The interpretation is based on Gerald Langner’s neuronal harmonic theory and the author’s seeker tone theory. The results give indications of possible prehistoric tunings. A difference of one string may appear small but it seems to have divided northern Europe into modal west and pre-tonal east.

The second part of the study is comparative and concerns how the surviving relics of these two types of instrument relate to their use in recent folk traditions, and how they relate to each other geographically, linguistically and musically.

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