MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

The History And Development Of Musical Instruments From The Earliest Times.

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30
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
kithara, c/ielys, phorminx, etc. Lyra appears to have implied instruments of this class in general, and also the lyre with a body-oval at the base and held upon the lap or in the arms of the performer; while the kithara had a square base and was held against the breast. These distinctions have, however, not been satisfactorily ascertained. The chclys was a small lyre with the body made of the shell of a tortoise, or of wood in imitation of the tortoise. The phorminx was a large lyre; and, like the kiihara, was used at an early period singly, for accompanying recitations. It is recorded that the kiihara was employed for solo performances as early as b.c. 700.
The design on the Grecian vase at Munich (already alluded to) represents the nine muses, of whom three are given in the engraving, viz., Polyhymnia with the harp, and Kalliope and Erato with lyres. It will be observed that some of the lyies engraved in the woodcuts on page 29 are provided with a bridge, while others are without it. The largest were held probably on or between the knees, or were attached to the left arm by means of a band, to enable the performer to use his hands without impediment. The strings, made of catgut or sinew, were more usually twanged with a phktron than merely with the fingers. The plektron was a short stem of ivory or metal pointed at both ends.
A fragment of a Greek lyre which was found in a tomb near Athens is deposited in the British museum. The two pieces con­stituting its frame are of wood. Their length is about eighteen inches, and the length of the cross-bar at the top is about nine inches. The instrument is unhappily in a condition too dilapidated and imperfect to be of any essential use to the musical inquirer.
The trigonon consisted originally of an angular frame, to which the strings were affixed. In the course of time a third bar was added to resist the tension of the strings, and its triangular frame resembled in shape the Greek delta. Subsequently it was still further improved, the upper bar of the frame being made slightly
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