Tips on Caring for the Strings of the Lyre

Kerry Lee, Spring City, PA (

In preparing for the start of the 2nd grade children's pentatonic harp class at the Waldorf school, I care for the strings each year. Here’s how: Using a special cleaner, which you can order through Choroi or go to the local music store and get string oil, wipe the strings with a soft cloth. (Look at the cloth…. Yuck!! You can see how dirty the strings are!) You would be surprised how much better the lyre strings sound when they are clean!!

If there is a string that sounds funny, loosen it to see if there is dust at the bottom or the top of the lyre where it touches against a piece of wood. Then bring it back to the desired pitch. Also look to see if the string is touching where the string is wound onto the peg at the top, or only lightly touching the string against the wood. If it is only lightly touching, it will create a buzz; it needs to have a firmer touch. See if that does the trick. Check on the wound strings if the winding is loose; in this case the only thing to do is replace the string. (Restringing will be left for another discussion.) Dust off the lyre, tune, and in most cases you are ready to go. You can do this with your own lyres. Have fun.