Someone looking at a lyre would probably make the observation that it almost makes one think of the harp. While the lyre is not a harp, it is played in a similar fashion in that the strings are strummed instead of plucked. It is often associated with Classical Antiquity because that is when it was most used. It was used by the Ancient Greeks for a number of different reasons, such as entertainment.
It was such an important instrument at the time that many pictures, sculptures and pottery include the image of someone holding onto or playing the instrument.
There is still much debate as to how to classify the instrument, though most will classify it as a member of the stringed instrument family. The lyre is a fairly simple instrument in design, in general. It can take some effort to create the instrument, but the basic design is not overly complex.
Like the guitar or the violin, the lyre has a hollow body, which is often referred to as the resonator because it is what enhances the sound so that people can clearly hear it.
The strings, which have to be tuned regularly in order to keep the instrument in tune, are fitted over a bridge that allows the strings to vibrate freely. The number of strings a lyre has depends on what model of lyre it is; some will have four strings, others will have as many as ten and others have only seven. The design of the lyre has not changed much over time.
It could be that there was little need to change the shape or how the instrument was made because it served its purpose well enough the way it was, though the material that the lyre is constructed out of may have changed. It could simply be that the lyre has always been in that general form and it would be a break of tradition to alter it.
The lyre is not a common instrument for students to choose to learn how to play.
Most public schools do not have access to them and stringed instruments are often not included in the bands anyway because they are expensive. However, if someone were to have an interest in learning how to play the lyre, it is probably not too difficult to find a teacher. Finding the instrument may not be as difficult as some may think either. While the lyre may not be as popular as it once was, it is still an instrument that is enjoyed by people today. Some enjoy playing it; others simply enjoy listening to it.
As is the case of many stringed instruments, it could take some time and patience before someone is able to play the lyre well.
It is an instrument that takes time to develop the skill necessary to play it well, though it may not be near as difficult to play as the harp. The lyre has fewer strings and is a smaller instrument in general.
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