Image:Apollo Musagetes Pio-Clementino Inv310.jpg| thumb|right|250px|[[ Apollo Citharoedus]] with '' 'kithara''']]
The '''kithara''' was an [[ancient Greek]] [[musical instrument]] in the [[zither]] family. In [[Latin]] it is spelled '''''cithara''''', and in modern [[Greek (language)|Greek]] the word ''kithara'' has come to mean ''[[guitar]]''.
The kithara was a professional version of the seven-stringed ''lyra'' ([[lyre]]). As opposed to the simpler ''lyra'', which was a folk-instrument, the kithara was primarily used by professional musicians (see [[kitharode]], ''citharoedus''). (The ''[[barbitos]]'' was a bass version of the kithara popular in the eastern [[Aegean]] and ancient [[Asia Minor]].)
The kithara had a deep, wooden [[sounding box]] composed of two resonating tables, either flat or slightly arched, connected by ribs or sides of equal width. At the top, its strings were knotted around the transverse tuning bar (zugon) or to rings threaded over the bar, or wound around pegs. The other end of the strings was secured to a tail-piece after passing over a flat bridge, or the tail-piece and bridge were combined. It was played with a rigid [[plectrum]] held in the right hand, with elbow outstretched and palm bent inwards, while the strings were plucked with the straightened fingers of the left hand.
The kithara was played primarily to accompany dances and epic recitations, rhapsodies, odes, and lyric songs. It was also played solo at the receptions, banquets, national games, and trials of skill.
Classic Encyclopedia article]
Sound examples from reconstructed ancient instruments]