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λύρα, pure Latin, fides). A stringed musical instrument, said to have been invented by Hermes, who stretched four strings across the shell of a tortoise. In historical times a whole tortoise

Lyra. (Bianchini.)

shell was used for the sounding-bottom, the curved horns of a goat or pieces of wood of a similar shape were inserted in the openings for the front legs, and joined near the upper ends by a transverse piece of wood called the yoke. On the breastplate of the shell was a low bridge, across which the strings (usually seven) ran all at the same height to the yoke, and were either simply wound round it or fastened to pegs; at the other end they were tied in knots and fastened to the sounding-board. It was ordinarily played with the left hand, while to produce louder and longer notes the strings were struck by the right hand with the plectrum, the point of which was usually like the leaf of a tree, and sometimes in the shape of a heart or like a little hammer.

The cithara differed from the lyra in replacing the shell by a wooden case either square or angu

Cithara. (Guhl and Koner.)

lar, and instead of the so-called horns (cornua) the sides of the case were prolonged upwards, as shown in the accompanying illustration. The cithara, therefore, represents an advance in point of construction over the lyre. The φόρμιγξ of Homer is probably the lyre rather than the cithara, though the word λύρα is post-Homeric; and the κίθαρις does not appear to have been different (De Diff. Voc. p. 82). In later times, the cithara took on a form not unlike the modern guitar, the word guitar, in fact, being a derivation of cithara through the Italian chitarra. See Von Jan, De Fidibus Graecorum (Berlin, 1859), and the works mentioned in the article Musica.

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