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lyre,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. In ancient times Sumer, Babylonia, Israel, and Egypt had various sorts of lyres. Ancient Greece had two lyres—the kitharakithara
, musical instrument of the ancient Greeks. It was a plucked instrument, a larger and stronger form of the lyre, used by professional musicians both for solo playing and for the accompaniment of poetry and song.
..... Click the link for more information. , which was the larger instrument used by the professional musician, and the lyra, the smaller instrument of the amateur. Each had from 3 to 12 strings, made of hemp. The tuning and playing techniques of modern lyres in E Africa are thought to be similar to those of ancient Greece and Egypt. After the 10th cent. the lyres of N European countries were bowed instead of being plucked. The bowed lyre that persisted longest was the Welsh crwth, known as early as the 11th cent. and still in use in the early 19th cent. At some time in its history a fingerboard was added, making it an early member of the violin family.
an ancient Greek plucked string instrument with a flat body and curved sides and seven to 11 strings. It was tuned to a five-tone scale. The lyre was played as an accompaniment to the recitation of epic and lyric poetry (hence the term “lyric”). Metaphorically, the lyre is the emblem or symbol of the arts.
G. I. BLAGODATOV