minstrel: intruments - cittern

nickolas kaugon ollaimh at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 21 11:29:36 PST 2000


actually there are several cittern tunings from period
that have survived and likely many that haven't.

the early ones were (according to the little bit of
written tablature) tuned like a ukelele with the
bottom two streings reversed so that the bass string
is third and not fourth, this was called reentrant
tuning and shows up on five course instruments later,
where the middle string is the lowest. this was done
due to the lack of good quality bass strings,. by late
period as decent overwound strings became available
the tunings resembled the more modern mandola
tunings--but more often than not the open celtic
versions. holborn'd book gives several late tunings--i
think i'd have to look it up to be sure as it's been a
few years.

some of the tablature shows that the cittern was
plucked with the fingers at times, as  well as strumed
or plucked with a plectrum. the german waldzither is
essentially a late period instrument as well as the
portugese guitar and the english guitar although i
have never seen machine tuning heads in  period. they
might have existed very late though.
--- Corrie Bergeron <corrie at itasca.net> wrote:
> I've got an a-style mando with a pear-shaped body
> and a round sound
> hole.  It's a Lone Star "Venice" Model.  OOP, but it
> looks non-modern and
> sounds nice.  I also have a
> Waldzither, a cittern-like instrument with a very
> unusual mechanical
> headstock.  I have it tuned like a mandola,
> because it's easy to play that way.  I have't really
> come across much info
> on specific cittern tuning, much less specific music
> for cittern.  You can
> see photos and hear sound clips at
> www.itasca.net/~corrie/cittern
> 
> The page also has links to cittern-ish resources.
> 
> Brendan
> 
> 
>
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