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Name of Instrument: lira-chitarra

Maker / Brand: Giovanni Battista Fabricatore

Stearns Catalog #: 1130

Country of Origin: Naples, Italy

Region of Origin: Europe

Instrument Category: Chordophone

Date of Fabrication: 1807

Description: The Lyre-shaped Guitar (Lira-Chitarra) was the very first instrument that Frederick Stearns ever purchased (in 1881, Prague). It is considered to the foundation of the Stearns Collection. It has a printed label that reads, “Gio. Battista Fabricatore, fecit Neapoli 1807 in S.M. dell’Ajuto, Num. 32”. The lyre-shaped body has a spruce table and an ebony, lace-like flower design on the lower table. It has two circular sound holes, one in each arm. The sides and back are made of flamed maple. The fingerboard has an ebony nut and nineteen inlaid nickel-silver frets. The neck and peg board have an ebony veneer; there are six ebony pegs that enter the peg board from the back. The instrument has six strings that attach to a pin bridge on the lower table.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower