Lyre, one of the oldest forms of stringed instrument. It was introduced into Egypt from Palestine during the 18th dynasty, and was common among the Greeks even in the heroic times. Most of the barbarians who invaded the Roman empire were acquainted with the lyre, and must have independently attained the knowledge of it. Its sounds can be no more in number than its strings. Consequently, since the rise of the modern scale, the lyre, whose strings were originally seven in number and subsequently increased to 16, has been unable to cope with the growing exigencies of intricate music.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Lyre (?), n. [OE. lire, OF. lyre, L. lyra, Gr. . Cf. Lyra.]

1. Mus.

A stringed instrument of music; a kind of harp much used by the ancients, as an accompaniment to poetry.

⇒ The lyre was the peculiar instrument of Apollo, the tutelary god of music and poetry. It gave name to the species of verse called lyric, to which it originally furnished an accompaniment

2. Astron.

One of the constellations; Lyra. See Lyra.

Lyre bat Zool., a small bat (Megaderma lyra), inhabiting India and Ceylon. It is remarkable for the enormous size and curious shape of the nose membrane and ears. -- Lyre turtle Zool., the leatherback.


© Webster 1913.

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