Yoke lutes are defined as instruments with one or more strings, arranged parallel to the sound board and attached to a yoke lying on the same plane as the sound table, composed of two arms and a crosspiece. Most of the instruments of the lyre family are played by plucking the strings, but some involve the use of a bow instead.
The sound box can be either bowl-shaped (321.21) or box-shaped (321.22). In the first case, the resonator is often a turtle shell, while the sound board is made of leather. In the second case, usually both the body and the sound board are made of wood.
However, there are other instruments called "lyra" or "lira" that do not belong, from an organological point of view, to this family, but rather to the handle lutes, such as: the Byzantine lyra, the Calabrian lira, the Cretan lyra, the lira da braccio, the lyra viol.
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