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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Deeps The English Guitar/Cittern (188* d) RE: The English Guitar/Cittern 18 Jun 08

WAV: Jez wasn't playing a cittern if it only had eight strings, both the renaissance cittern and the modern cittern have ten strings set up in five pairs (courses). What Jez does play is either a short scale bouzouki or octave mandolin, the instrument can be either depending on the way the maker/player chooses to describe it. The modern cittern came via Stefan Sobell who needed a name for the 10 stringed instrument he had just made (based on a cross between his Portugese guitarra and his Martin archtop guitar) and happened across the cittern in a book on Renaissance instruments.

The prevalence of the bouzouki in todays folk traditions is often laid at the door of Johnny Moynihan of Sweeny's Men who brought one to Ireland after a trip to Greece. Much as I like the bouzouki, cittern and octave mandolin, they are in truth mongrel instruments and to try and claim any of them as a racially pure English instrument is, frankly, laughable.

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