kithara

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kithara

(kĭth`ərə) or

cithara

(sĭth`–), musical instrument of the ancient Greeks. It was a plucked instrument, a larger and stronger form of the lyrelyre,
generic term for stringed musical instruments having a sound box from which project curved arms joined by a crossbar. The strings are stretched between the crossbar and the sound box and are plucked with the fingers or with a plectrum.
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, used by professional musicians both for solo playing and for the accompaniment of poetry and song. It consisted of a relatively square wooden box that extended at one end into heavy arms. Originally it had 5 strings, but later there were 7 and finally 11 strings. These were stretched from the sound box across a bridge and up to a crossbar fastened to the arms. Since the strings were of equal length, tuning was determined only by the thickness and tension of each string. Because of its size and weight, it rested against the body of the player and was held in position by a band. The player usually stood when performing.