Friday, 25 February 2022

Video sound samples to listen to.

Which Kantele model to choose: 

Here is a list of some models I build and examples of sounds you can produce to give you choices when deciding what instrument to make or buy.

The 5 string kanteles are the earliest type for runic songs, historically this is the starting point and the diatonic "D e f g a" notes are found in the middle of the 10 or 11 string instruments.
5 string kanteles are used in schools for early learning like the recorder for young children in Finland and other Baltic countries,   
With 5 strings you can play the early Runic song repertoire,  simple rhymic tunes,  basic chords,  mixed melody and chordal playing

More strings have greater melodic opportunities,    10 strings were very popular for playing chordal styles,  11 strings add the missing top C sharp and good if you are mixing chords and melodies.
This is my most popular model   Tutor book available by Arja Kastinen

15 string diatonic for harp-like playing,   
15 String Drone (11 melody and 4 drones) for Solo drone style of playing.  

5 String Kantele

10 String Kantele
10 string Bronze:  (smaller instrument so its the same pitch as a steel-strung instrument)
Book/sheet music for 10 and 5 string:

11 string Kantele

Book tutor for 11 string: 

11 string electric

15 String Drone kantele

15 string diatonic kantele

5 String Piccolo/Sopranino travel kantele

Please note that I played the kantele for 4 or 5 years at one point but with all the instruments I make only play when doing sound demos or setting up a new instrument so please see some of these links at the bottom for professional players to give you a full understanding of what is possible.

Professional Kantele/Kankle/Kannel/Kokle playing for inspiration

I hope this gives you some interesting starting points for discovery!

Please feel to leave questions here or on my Youtube channel or videos

Best wishes

Michael J King 
Febuary 2022

Plans to make kanteles:
Instruments available to order:

Saturday, 12 February 2022

7 String Lyres plans available (including Viking and travel lyre designs)

7 String Lyre plans available

This is a hybrid model that combines the scale length and playability of the Kravik Lyre model with the 9th/10th Century model, comes with 42-page construction guide plus extra plans(see below)
Can be built as a 6 or 7 string lyre.

Included in Download: 

7 String Hybrid Viking/Kravik model in A C DE F G A tuning 

6 String Viking in G-A, B or C tuning depending on strings 
7 String travel lyre, sized to fit in carry-on luggage on Ryan Air! 
42-page construction guide 

 I am still taking orders for these 7 string models for 2022/3,  5-6 months for this model only.
 see my etsy shop for ordering these

Friday, 11 February 2022

Lyre Fluorocarbon String sets: more options

Ideally, you would choose your lyre based on the pitch you wanted to play or to match your voice for accompaniment but if you already have the lyre then there is still some range of flexibility depending on the thickness and placement of the string, this is why I have a wide range of string sets available.

My new "Viking" set for the Anglo-Saxon Lyre 6 string model is thicker than my standard set and allows the shorter scale model I offer to tune to G pitch if required.

Tuning examples depending on the length of the lyre:

Standard Lyre strings:

Sutton Hoo G / Trossingen E / Viking Lyre B pitch

Trossingen G Set:

Sutton Hoo A / Trossingen G /Viking Lyre C pitch

Viking Set

Sutton Hoo D / Trossingen C / Viking Lyre G Pitch

String sets are available from my etsy shop

Etsy Shop

Plans for the small Viking Lyre are included with the 7 String Lyre plans here:

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Lyre Meditation No.1 Sheet Music now on Kindle

Printed music sheet of this tune is available on Amazon wherever you are, also on Kindle ebook.

This edition is an example of how to do lyre tab for 7 string lyre and has links to downloads to make your own music, Included in the book:Sheet Music now available as a Kindle book or Paperback on Amazon : Click here for local Amazon store page (Printed Sheet music and tab for this Lyre tune played)

or the Download pdf edition here: Book/Download Includes:

• Sheet music version pdf (one page 42 bars)

• Sheet Music and tab Version (two pages)

• Sheet music and numbers (Two pages)

• Information, reading the notation and background

• Blank 7 string lyre tab sheet (or links on the ebook)

• MP3 of tune, Midi and Musescore file(links on book version)

digital plans store:

Click here for original download version and my plans to build your own instrument Physical plans, Instruments and accessories: website for more info latest pictures:

Friday, 27 March 2020

Resources for 6 String Lyre 2020

Here are the links referred to in this video

Tom Crosby's Lyre tools (Lyre chord generator):

Lyre playing method: Spike Bakker's Moro Music Youtube Channel:

Facebook Lyre group:

Yahoo Anglo Saxon Lyre Forum/Newsgroup, alas now removed by yahoo, leaving just the facebook version of the Group

My old Lyre playing webpage:


etsy shop:



Friday, 20 March 2020

Runosong melodies on a 5 string kantele video by Arja Kastinen

I just had to share this is a video from Arja Kastinen on the 5 String Kantele with Bronze strings in A tuning.  Do check out her classic kantele album on the 1833 Bronze kantele on her website

She writes in her video notes:

"Four runosong melodies with variations played on a 5-string kantele. The kantele is a replica made by Rauno Nieminen. It has bronze strings. The original was made by the famous runosinger Ontrei Malinen in 1833 in Vuonninen, Viena Karelia. The kantele is tuned according to harmonics, and thus it's not in Equal Temperament.

You can find old runosongmelodies online at: - "Haku" - "tarkennettu haku" - "kokoelmat". And when you scroll down from the "kokoelmat", you can find two collections of runosongs: "Runosävelmät I" and "Runosävelmät II". The four runosong melodies that are played on this video were collected by Axel August Borenius in 1877 and in 1879 in Ilomantsi, Leppävirta and Kivijärvi (Hiitola). You can transpose the melodies and you should also variate them; only one or two basic phrases are written down."

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Free: 5 String Kantele ebook and plans Download

Free Download here:
Playlist for making and playing:

My original 2004 ebook and plan are now available to download for free, for educational use by anyone in these unprecedented times. They are meant as a springboard to start making musical instruments, an introduction to the Finnish Style kantele and its traditional playing. The ebook guides you through construction and you can either print off plans on your home computer or draw them out by hand,

This ebook was later expanded to become the kantele aking CD-ROM still available as a Download with further kantele plans.

Kindle Ebook edition which will be text-based should be available next year.