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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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According to Mary Chan, the bowed instruments and the flute would play the tune, and the plucked wire-stringed cittern and bandore would 'emphasise the rhythmic basis of the melody and the lute provides virtuoso variations of the melody in the repeated sections'.
Immediately a prelude of pipe, cittern, and viol, touched with practised minstrelsy, began to play" in "such a mirthful cadence, that the boughs of the May-Pole quivered to the sound.
34 Professional and amateur musicians of all levels and artistic proficiency were employed in great numbers at the Lisbon court--for instance Rodrigo the German and Diogo de Madrid--and were responsible for playing the lute, cittern, tambourine, harp, Indian trumpets and charamelas.
In fact, they utilize viola da gamba, guitars, bajon, tambor, cittern, pandero, panderetilla, darabuka, castanets, psaltery, organ, and, yes, the harp.
Cytharis ac testudinibus tactus sonorum imponere') with reference to the placing of the frets on a cittern, as can be seen in illus.
The essays on the 'Symbolic geometry in the Renaissance Lute Rose' (Chapter 5) and the Orpharion (Chapter 6) extend the iconographical observations of Friedemann Hellwig (1974) concerning the symbolic meaning of the lute rose and Emmanuel Winternitz (1967) on the symbolic features of the cittern from which the orpharion is thought to have arisen.
This takes a number of forms: on sixteen pages extra verses have been written out in metrical form;(13) on seventeen pages the cittern part has been underlaid with text;(14) on four pages the Cantus part has been written out again so that it can be read by the cittern player with the page inverted;(15) on four pages the name of the tune has been supplied;(16) in the Table on sig.
Co-produced with his longtime confi-dant Guy Fletcher, it features an A-list of frequent collaborators, such as John McCusker on fiddle and cittern, Mike McGoldrick on whistle and flute, bassist Glenn Worf and drummer Ian 'Ianto' Thomas.
But in its current form, with the incredible Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes, cittern, whistles and vocals, and Andy Dinan on the fiddle, he has the musical talent to see it through.
With Ian Wilson on keyboards and cittern, electric guitarist Pete Smale and drummer Barry Malin, the line-up has since played all the major dance clubs and festivals in the country and shows no sign of slowing down.
The band plays a wide range of instruments from hurdy-gurdy, which is Quentin's province, plus Hammer dulcimer (Amanda's territory), vocals, cittern, bag-pipes, shawm, kit drums, bass, percussion and didjeridu.
Bruce sings and plays pipes, cittern, guitar and whistles with the Backroom Band, one of the liveliest ceilidh bands in Wales and wants to focus his camera on the musicians of Wales and their music.