Again, for those who may be coming in late, the instrument under discussion is the six-stringed Saxon lyre.
The main thing I do with my lyre is noodle out tunes on it. Using the playing technique described yesterday, I can sit and make up music.
I use rhythmic or melodic themes or tropes to keep things sounding different, or sometimes I will play in another mode. I vary tempo and mood between pieces as well. There is really quite a lot you can do, melodically, on six strings.
So far, I have one performance-ready piece: my sung translation of Wulf and Eadwacer. I have tried strumming only about one note per measure, and every note. Both seem to work pretty well. I still generally play with the Dorian drone on, and just echo the sung melody.
Accompanied Recitation (Current Work)
I have only tried this a few times. Two early attempts used harp to accompany Anglo-Saxon poems (the Exeter Book riddle for "fire" and For Silvanus Perrin). In both cases, I used two octaves' worth of fifths (e.g., D-A-d-a), moving almost randomly around the harp - just sure to end on tonic.
Those seemed to go over all right, but the music and poetry didn't seem well-matched. I'm not sure if they need to be. I'm not sure if the music should be all over the place, for 'interest,' or if just a home interval (D-A) and an away interval (C-G) would be sufficient. They feel boring to play, but the listener will be primarily attending to the words, not the music.
I have listened to Benjamin Bagby and Ann and Charlie Heymann do recited early medieval poetry to more complicated music (on lyre in Bagby's case) but I'm not yet sure exactly how. Bagby says he improvises, but also that the themes are mostly settled after years of practice.
Experiments in private have been dodgy. It's hard to recite, play and listen to yourself do both at the same time. I believe I will need to enlist technology. Audacity allows for the recording of multiple tracks of sound. I can record myself reciting a poem, and then record different kinds of accompaniment, from a single repeated interval, to "home and away" intervals, to different melodies underlying the text. Then I can listen to them separately, to hear what they sound like.