This hymn was first published in 1868, with lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph P. Webster. It is still a popular traditional Christian hymn that appears in many modern hymnals. I’ve always found it comforting and peaceful.
Today, enjoy ukulele and viola, then compare the sounds of double strung harp, lyre, harp again, and last but not least, zither. Though these instruments are similar, they have different sound qualities. You will hear some slight buzzing in the harp recording, because I misplaced the microphone. My apologies!
Did you know? There are 98 strings in this arrangement! The harp has 23 strings on each side, for a total of 46. The lyre and zither each have 22 strings. Ukulele and viola have 4 strings each. That’s a lot of strings to tune!
I wrote “Lullaby of the Ages” on lyre last year. As I considered purchasing a double strung harp, I kept thinking the piece would be a wonderful demonstration of the effects possible on double strung that cannot be played on a “normal” harp, lyre, or zither with one continuous row of strings. I tested this by playing lyre and zither at the same time, and it was as I thought. You can listen to that here.
The familiar lullaby composed by Johannes Brahms was another piece I tested in this way. That audio is here
if you haven’t already heard the arrangement.
At the end of the series with lyre and zither, I said I would revisit these pieces with the harp. That time is now! So, here are my original, “Lullaby of the Ages,” and the Brahms lullaby played on an honest-to-goodness double strung harp!
I hope you enjoy this medley as much as I love playing and hearing it!