The cittern is a stringed musical instrument that has a long and rich history. It is a plucked instrument, similar to a guitar, and is known for its bright and lively sound. The cittern has a pear-shaped body and a flat back, and is typically made of wood. It has four to six courses (sets) of strings, which are tuned in unison or octaves.
The cittern has its origins in the medieval period, and was particularly popular in Europe during the Renaissance and Baroque eras. It was used in a variety of musical styles, including folk music, dance music, and even opera. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the cittern was a popular instrument among both professional and amateur musicians, and was often played in courts and households.
The cittern also has a significant place in the history of American music, it was brought over to America by the European settlers and was popular in the colonial and early American periods. It was known as the “English guitar” or the “American cittern” and was used to play folk music, dance music, and religious hymns.
The cittern has a unique sound that is often described as bright and lively, and is well suited for fingerpicking and strumming. It is also known for its ability to play chordal accompaniment, which makes it a versatile instrument that can be used in a variety of musical styles.
Today, the cittern is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among musicians, particularly in the folk and early music scenes. Many modern luthiers are building and restoring citterns, and a growing number of musicians are learning to play the instrument. Some notable musicians who play the cittern include Julian Bream, Paul Oorts, and Pat Kirtley.
In conclusion, the cittern is a stringed musical instrument that has a rich history and a unique sound. It is a versatile instrument that can be used in a variety of musical styles, and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity today. Whether you’re a professional musician or an amateur, the cittern is a fascinating and rewarding instrument to play.