E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
That of Terpander and Olympus had only three strings; the Scythian lyre had five; that of Simonids had eight; and that of Timotheus (3 syl.) had twelve. It was played either with the fingers or with a plectrum. The lyre is called by poets a shell, because the cords of the lyre used by Orpheus (2 syl.), Amphon, and Apollo, were stretched on the shell of a tortoise. Hercules used boxwood instead.
Amphion built Thebes with the music of his lyre, for the very stones moved of their own accord into walls and houses.
Arion charmed the dolphins by the music of his lyre, and when the bard was thrown overboard one of them carried him safely to Tænarus.
Hercules was taught music by Linus. One day, being reproved, the strong man broke the head of his master with his own lyre.
Orpheus charmed savage beasts, and even the infernal gods, with the music of his lyre.