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(sĭt`ərn), stringed musical instrument of the guitar family having an oval body, a flat back, and a fretted neck. Its strings, made of wire and varying in number, were plucked. It was first made in the Middle Ages and at that time was usually called citole or sitole. The name cittern was given it in the 16th cent. in England, where, as in all western Europe, it was very popular until the early part of the 18th cent. It has also been called cister, cistre, cithern, cithren, citharen, cetera, cither, cithara, gittern, and sittron.



an ancient plucked stringed instrument. The cittern, which had a pear-shaped body, resembled the modern mandolin; it had four to 12 pairs of metal strings and one treble string. It was common in Germany, Italy, and other Western European countries from the 15th to the early 19th century and was especially popular among the urban population in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The instrument was subsequently supplanted by the guitar. Special types of citterns included the archcittern, the tenor cittern, and the English guitar. The cittern is still played in Spain.


Sachs, C. Handbuch der Musikinstrumentenkunde, 2nd ed. Leipzig [1966]. Pages 205–09.
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Under their banner 'Forward With Scotland's Past', Battlefield Band mix old songs and tunes with new self-penned material, playing them on a unique fusion of ancient and modern instruments; bagpipes, synthesizers, fiddles, guitars, cittern, bass, whistles and bouzouki.
Actor David Stuart Bull narrates Dylan Thomas' classic "A Child's Christmas in Wales," while Linda Danielson plays traditional Celtic music on the fiddle and Chico Schwall plays guitar and cittern.
Finally, at least a mention of the English guitar (which was actually a type of cittern and not a true guitar) might have been appropriate, since it was popular in late-eighteenth-century England and America and was often referred to confusingly as "guitar" in American references into the nineteenth century.
She left the stage at one point for McCusker (violin, cittern, banjo and whistles), Carr and the rest of the band - Michael McGoldrick (flutes and whistles), Ewen Vernal (double bass) and Andy Cutting (accordion) - to play a short medley of McCusker material, which was warmly received.
Reader's new album features an all-star band of musicians including Kate Rusby's other half John McCusker, violin, whistles, cittern, Phil Cunningham, accordion and whistles, Boo Hewerdine and Colin Reid, acoustic guitars, Ian Carr, acoustic guitar and piano, Ewen Vernal, double bass, Christine Hanson, cello, Roy Dodds, percussion, and string players from the Royal National Scottish Orchestra conducted by Kevin McCrae.
They are joined by cittern player Daniel James and Miranda Sykes on double bass and vocals and are touring to showcase their latest album Lost Lady Found.
Performers on the lute, cittern, bandora, and lyra viol used to playing from tablature might prefer versions of their parts in that format, although regular scoring is of course more accessible to scholars and non-specialists.
The evening includes forgotten festive songs - plus some surprisingly familiar carols - played on authentic instruments such as cittern, hurdygurdy, bagpipes and shawm.
Ben, who sings and plays piano, guitar and accordion, is a founder member along with Rob Armstrong, who plays cittern and guittern and lives in the Borders.
Strong vocals, backed by outstanding instrumental back-up on guitar, cittern, fiddle, fretless bass, keyboards and Northumbrian Pipes, have made them one of Britain''s top attractions on the folk/acoustic/celtic circuit.
The current line-up has Wallsend lad, Dave Richardson (guitar, mandolin, cittern etc) joined by Shetland fiddler, Kevin Henderson and two representatives from Ireland, Brendan Begley (vocals, accordion, melodeon) and Garry O''Brian (guitar, piano, mandocello).
The line-up comprises melodeons, fiddle, clarinet, cittern, guitar and bass.