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The phorminx ( Greek  φόρμιγξ ) is a lyre played in ancient Greece from the first half of the 1st millennium BC. The stringed instrument mentioned by Homer had two to six strings that were played with the fingers or a plectrum . The Phorminx is from the 9th to 6th centuries BC Detectable and was later replaced by the kithara and the lyre .

The singer of an epic accompanied his lecture with the Phorminx , as Homer describes in the Iliad and the Odyssey . The archaeological findings and the music-theoretical writings of the ancient Greeks as well as other sources ( Hesiod , Aristophanes ) indicate that the Phorminx originally only had four strings, in contrast to the lyre, and could therefore only represent four tones.

According to Martin Litchfield West , the relative tuning of the four-string Phorminx e f a d ' could have been based on the old Ionic tone sequence e f a c' d '. Later versions of the Phorminx have up to seven strings.

According to Homer , Hesiod and Aristophanes, the musical instruments were decorated with gold and ivory and were used to accompany the singers known as rhapsodes . The origin of the Phorminx is believed to be in Mesopotamia .

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