The lyre (also called lijerica) is a solo musical instrument intended primarily for a musical accompaniment for dance – such as linđo (a folk dance of the region of Dubrovnik) or the so-called poskočice.
The pear-shaped body (so-called korpus or varjača) extends into a wider neck and a heart-shaped head. The body, neck and the head are all made out of a single piece of wood. The so-called glasnjača (soundboard) is a thin board that covers the pear-shaped body and usually has two incisions in shape of a crescent or a single rosette burned in wood. The neck and the lower part of the body are most commonly made of hard dark wood, and the glasnjača – of softwood. The lyre has three pegs (čivije) and three strings attached to them, however, the Collection of musical instruments also includes some lyres that do not conform to this rule; such is, for example, the lyre marked with the inventory number Et 7247 built out of a single piece of wood very roughly cut, with a rugged body and a short neck. The instrument had three tuning pegs (čivija) originally but later seven more holes were pierced so that four out of the ten holes were used for tuning pegs to which the strings are attached. It was built by a blind man – Lukšić Rade, in Sutivan (the island of Brač), in the mid-19th century.
The lyre player plays the instrument sitting down with his foot thumping against the floor, while the leading dancer (kolovođa) shouts commands in witty rhyme, often puns, so that the dancers change their moves accordingly (Marošević and Zebec, 1998: 238). The lijerica is still very much used in the Dubrovnik Littoral, Konavle and the Pelješac peninsula as well as on the islands of Mljet and Lastovo (Ćaleta, 2001: 428). The Collection of musical instruments includes lijerice from the islands of Hvar, Brač, Korčula, Lošinj, Silba and Mljet and also the area of the Dubrovnik Littoral.
The oldest preserved type of the lyre kept in the Ethnographic Museum originates from 1820. This particular lyre was built on the island of Hvar (POH-420ab/1920) and Kuhač purchased it in 1869. Its short neck and pear-shaped body were built out of a single piece of wood. The simplest type of lyre in the Collection of musical instruments is the lijerica marked with the inventory number Et 6223, which was built and used during the first half of the 20th century, in Blato (the island of Korčula).