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Lyre

LyreThe Lyre is an ancient stringed musical Instrument, constructed pretty much as shown here with a shell and wooden posts and crossbar.

The oldest known is the Lyre of Ur which is 5000 years old approximately.

Originally strummed and employing one String per note (like a Harp which was plucked).

Imagine a Guitar with two 'horns' projecting from the body parallel with the neck. Now join these two horns in the region of the tuning pegs by a cross bar. Now remove the neck and attach the strings to the cross bar instead. That is a Lyre. Essentially.

Note that you have no Frets so you really do need one-string-one-note.

Now reverse that process - add a fretboard, then attach the strings to the end of the fretboard, then take the horns away and you have the evolution of the entire Lute family.