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The English Guitar/Cittern

Phil Edwards 19 Jun 08 - 09:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jun 08 - 08:52 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jun 08 - 08:49 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 19 Jun 08 - 08:30 AM
Brian Hoskin 19 Jun 08 - 04:37 AM
Nick 18 Jun 08 - 07:53 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jun 08 - 07:01 PM
greg stephens 18 Jun 08 - 06:55 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jun 08 - 06:37 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 Jun 08 - 05:42 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM
Darowyn 18 Jun 08 - 03:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jun 08 - 03:14 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 03:09 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 02:46 PM
Howard Jones 18 Jun 08 - 02:41 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 02:39 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jun 08 - 02:35 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 02:29 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 02:20 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jun 08 - 02:16 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 02:15 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Hon. Sec for TSFPTOTOOT 18 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 02:01 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 Jun 08 - 01:53 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 01:42 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 08 - 01:34 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 01:31 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 Jun 08 - 01:27 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 01:22 PM
jonm 18 Jun 08 - 01:19 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 01:13 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 01:02 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 01:01 PM
irishenglish 18 Jun 08 - 12:57 PM
Stu 18 Jun 08 - 12:52 PM
mattkeen 18 Jun 08 - 12:50 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 12:43 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM
Banjiman 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM
Deeps 18 Jun 08 - 12:35 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jun 08 - 12:23 PM
theleveller 18 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM
Def Shepard 18 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM
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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 09:33 AM

Oud -> 'el oud' -> laud -> lute?

The roots of the banjo are of course much older, dating back to classical times. The word 'banjo' is in fact the first person singular of the Latin verb banjare, 'to clank repetitively'. The 'fiddle' supposedly played by Nero while Rome burned may well have been one of the first banji.

(Sorry, there's just something about these 'English' threads...)


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:52 AM

I might add that the other instruments didn't necessarily evolve from the lute either, and certainly not the Banjo! But feel free to persist in the racist fantasy of Europe being the mother of all cultures if it makes you feel better!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:49 AM

"I like the idea of the European lute having evolved into different guitar-like instruments in different lands: Portuguese guitar, E. cittern, Russian balalaika, Italian mandolin, Greek bouzouki, Hawaiian ukulele, American lap-steel, African/American banjo, as well as the Spanish guitar"

The European lute itself has much earlier African roots (from Ancient Egypt) but derives entirely from the Arabic Oud, supposedly brought back by Crusaders, and from the hugely influential cross-cultural adventures of Alfonso 'El Sabio' X of Castille, who employed Arabic, Christian & Jewish musicians at his court in the 13th century. See HERE for illuminations from the famous Cantigas de Santa Maria.

Why don't you do some research before forming your erroneous conclusions? Let's see some of that much professed scholarship in action!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 08:30 AM

"I like the idea of the European lute having evolved into different guitar-like instruments in different lands: Portuguese guitar, E. cittern, Russian balalaika, Italian mandolin, Greek bouzouki, Hawaiian ukulele, American lap-steel, African/American banjo, as well as the Spanish guitar" (from here).


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 19 Jun 08 - 04:37 AM

Hi Greg,

I just visited the Boat Band's myspace site to start to redress the balance! Great stuff, as expected. I decided to give WAV's a miss.

All the best

Brian


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Nick
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 07:53 PM

>>I just looked at WAV's Myspace site, and 28,000 and a bit people have listened to the music. Well, I'm damn sure nothing like that number have listened to my Boat Band Myspace. What has this man got?

Skin like a rhinoceros. Incredibly limited ability to either play or sing. Limitless self promotion inversely proportional to the value of what is being promoted. Bizarre attachments to ideas regardless of any proof in their validity. Enormous (though misguided) belief in the worth of his poetry, ideas and music. To mention but a few. On the numbers the thought of flies and shit come to mind.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 07:01 PM

Has anybody done of a survey of what kind of car wreck is best at making people slow down to look?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:55 PM

I just looked at WAV's Myspace site, and 28,000 and a bit people have listened to the music. Well, I'm damn sure nothing like that number have listened to my Boat Band Myspace. What has this man got?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 06:37 PM

in 17th century England, one could be found in nearly every barber-shop and tavern in England, where they were used to accompany songs...what songs?...

I think they would have gone something like this:

My Evaline
Hey derry, hey derry, hey derry down dilly oh!
My Evaline
Hey derry down my lady
My Evaline,
Say you'll be mine
With a derry down, dilly down and don't forget the gravy-oh!

Fortunately, 17th-century barbers were slow workers.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM

WAV, so what, I didn't ask you, and the cittern is last instrument in the world I'll be learning to play ( I prefer more adventurous instruments, as I've already noted), I don't care how English you claim it is, and all this nonsense about barber shops and such like is just that, nonsense, and the songs, you're the only one who seems to be interested. Another thing you don't have is a bloody sense of humour. irishenglish, Phil Edwards and myself were having a bit of fun, to liven up this thread. By the way, the so-called English guitar was of German origin, as has already been noted, I believe.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 05:42 PM

Adolf Sax, of Belgium, invented the saxophone, DS, for military use...as for the English cittern's use, apparently, in 17th century England, one could be found in nearly every barber-shop and tavern in England, where they were used to accompany songs...what songs?...


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM

Oi!, you might get called Anglo-Saxonist :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Darowyn
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:33 PM

And introducing the Walkabouts English band.
Let's hear it for WAV on the Anglo Concertina,
And Verso playing the Cor Anglais,
Take it away Bertsverse on Recorder (English Flute, allegedly)
And Walkie on the Cittern (English guitar from Germany)
And now on lead vocals, Mr Doggerel himself, Walkaboutsverse!
Come on now! You all know the words......
"There'll always be an England....."

Cheers
Dave
A Briton and descendent of Britons for over 2000 years and nothing to do with those Anglo Saxon incomers.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:14 PM

Have you noticed that the English always use Spanish in Pontefract Cakes, except in the rare occasions when they use the more traditional liquorice?

I suspect this heinous practice gained popularity round about the time the English nation regained its self respect and stopped picking their citterns with a feather, learned three chords from the Bert Weedon book and The Watersons learned all they knew about harmony singing from the first Beach Boys album.

Like WAV, I was devastated by all that and lost my personal equilibrium.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 03:09 PM

ooooooooooooo.... :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:46 PM

If I had a choice, I think I'd rather play a Strat, far more exciting:-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:41 PM

Let's run through some of the traditional English instruments:

Fiddle: Italian
Concertina: Arguably the only instrument invented in England. However other similar instruments were being developed elsewhere, especially Germany, at the same time. Wheatstone's patent was just one of the more successful versions. Anyway, the free reed probably comes from China
Melodeon: German/Austrian. See above re free reed
Bagpipes: English versions mostly extinct, apart from Northumbrian, but bagpipes are widely found throughout Europe and beyond, so hardly English
Hammered Dulcimer: Widely distributed throughout Asia and Europe. Not English
Pipe and Tabor: the flute and drum are found in many cultures back to the dawn of human society.
Banjo: African-American

We've been through this before - you can't draw lines around these things. Playing the English Cittern, or recorder for that matter, is no more authentic than playing a Stratocaster.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:39 PM

sorry, I thought this thread was about
I couldn't fathom where the English guitar came into the picture :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:35 PM

Robert, what did you play "She's Sweetest Ehen She's Naked" on? Sopranino recorder? I've never heard anybody but me play it. I used a transverse flute, I think. We have a very similar repertoire.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:29 PM

Hang on a sec, Harry 'exploding Welshman' Secombe was from South Wales, and Spike Milligan was born in India of Irish parents

when Secombe met Milligan in a wadi in North Africa Milligan was wearing a German helmet, Italian shorts and British boots, he wasn't taking any chances :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:20 PM

Just dawned on me that maybe I should stop with the Monty Python. After all, there was an American and (shudder) a Welshman in the troupe. Not very English!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:16 PM

...play that modern banjo Min...


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:15 PM

Phil, I think Sellers is on New York Girls didn't he?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM

...all you New York Girls, can you dance the polka!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM

Oddly enough, Peter Sellers was something of a virtuoso on an hourglass-shaped four-stringed instrument - the fine old English ukulele, which he played to great effect on an English traditional song performed by Steeleye Span. (Almost all of this sentence is true.)

if you goto the BS section, you'll find an "All Things English" thread NOT started by me, but Phil...although I couldn't resist posting on it

As you'll see if you look at the top post in that thread and click the links, that entire thread was meant as a joke - a kind of heffalump trap for any passing English nationalists. But you're in good company, WAV - hardly anybody else has got the joke either...


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM

Your Right Hon. Sec for TSFPTOTOOT....

The Fish Slapping Dance


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: GUEST,Hon. Sec for TSFPTOTOOT
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM

ta ever so for the publicity.
toodle pip!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:01 PM

It's the Upperclass Twit Of The Year competition...

The Society For Putting Things On Top Of Other Things

Confuse A Cat Ltd.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:53 PM

Thanks Robert, and here's a blue clicky to your good site - wireharp.com


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:42 PM

Min, Min, stop that sinful rhythmn type dancing!


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:38 PM

"And, for what it's worth, on my myspace Blog"

memo to self: keep repeating, I'm not going to sucumb to temptation, I'm not going to sucumb to temptation...


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:34 PM

Actually they are still being played, I play an antique one attributed to John Preston c. 1770. I think the reason you don't hear many people reviving them is that being tuned to a two octave open C chord they are not anything like a modern guitar for accompanying a song. I got a copy of Bremners tutor from 1758 and it has a few songs in there. He says that the accompaniment is simply doubling the melody, which I do for a few songs like Liberty Tree by Thomas Paine. It is a far different sound than modern ears are used to, and I suspect that is why there isn't more of it.
They are wonderful little parlor instruments from a different world. If you want to hear a breif sample you can hear mine at http://www.wireharp.com/wireharp_015.htm and click on the tune
"Rangers Wedding". it is just a bit of melody.

Robert Mouland
www.wireharp.com


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:31 PM

...and now for something completely different.



Know what I mean...wink wink nudge nudge, say no more


Albatross


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:27 PM

To Stigweard: as well as imitating the human voice (recorden is olde-English for - to warble or sing) the recorder/English flute has been used to mimic/attract birds (although Mozart, of course, preferred the transverse/German flute. And, for what it's worth, on my myspace Blog, I've encouraged GREEN GODLY GARDENING, and carefully selected feeders and boxes, for the benefit of native birds and other fauna.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:22 PM

Friends, pick up that bottle you will finding standing in the centre of your dining room table. Now examine it closely and read what it says on the very small print on the back of the label. Note that it's contents are invaluable for pea soup, falling ears, irritation of the nurglers, exteriminating socks and preserving eggs And that doctors strongly recommend it as a cure for the lurgi, the on-set of the nadgers, spots before the ankles, soft shoulders, pink toenail and
acute amounting on the legs.

Ying tong iddle I po !


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: jonm
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:19 PM

A couple of thoughts, without entering the arguments.

"When Portuguese accompany their fado songs (although they may sometimes use the Spanish guitar) they always use the Portuguese guitar ..."

This is perfectly consistent if you know fado, the Portuguese guitar is always used, sometimes with a Spanish as well.

There is one naming convention which has modern citterns as the ten-string cousins of the eight-string mandolin family. There is another which suggests that instruments tuned in fifths are mandolin family (you tend not to find five-course instruments due to problems with string gauge and tension) and those in open tunings are citterns.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM

I didn't expect some type of Spanish Inquisition

DAH DAH.......

No one expects the Spanish Inquistion.......


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:13 PM

Is this money going towards the Chairman of The Board's wife's saxophone lessons?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:02 PM

Fatang, Fatang ole' biscuit barrel

Pickled Herring?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 01:01 PM

a random thought, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds :-D

and random nonsense? Henry Crun, Minnie Bannister, Major Denis Bloodnok, curried eggs. :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: irishenglish
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:57 PM

I'm sorry, but WAV's verbatim answers again just leave me baffled. So I'm just going to quote random nonsense from Monty Python as a reply.

Lemon Curry?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Stu
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:52 PM

WAV's got a point. I think the only way to play/accompany English folk music is with a pig's bladder, a couple of birch branches and an elder twig hollowed out, holes drilled in it and a sparrow shoved up one end which tweets the top line melody until the RSPCA find out and ban you from approaching with 50 (megalithic) yards of small brown finches.

Which is why I'll be sticking to my Irish Bouzouki made by a chap in Norfolk.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:50 PM

Sedayne
Thanks for repeating the recorder information, it was an absolute joy to read


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:43 PM

Well safe to say I won't be among the practioners. I tend to go for more adventurous instruments (as I stated somewhere else, it'll very likely be the melodeon next), the cittern does tend to have a very limited range...now that sounds familiar! :-D


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM

Yes, Sedayne, I remember, and agree with, that post, but would still add that it was brought back mainly as a student AND folk instrument, plus that we now have two styles of fingering/holes on the Baroque recorder - German and English. Also, the inexpensive tenor I play most of the time is moulded out of ABS polymer.
To Howard - I accept that when I play my electronic keyboard, or a piano at a pub, in self-accompaniment I am, as you suggest, moving away a bit from E. trad. music...but then I only play the top-line melody (which is E. trad.), and singing around the piano, of course, is a strong English tradition in itself. Also, re: "WAV Bingo", if you goto the BS section, you'll find an "All Things English" thread NOT started by me, but Phil...although I couldn't resist posting on it (Sedayne - you'll find stotties get another guernsey there, too!)
Back to strings: there was an interesting interview, on the last Travelling Folk (BBC Scotland), of Judy Collins by Archie Fisher that mentioned the "great folk scare" and "the epidemic" of having to play some kind of stringed instrument - even though I may never play it, DS, I do like the sound of the English cittern, and do hope the list of players grows.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:38 PM

"and to try and claim any of them as a racially pure English instrument is, frankly, laughable"

Why would you want to (nice though most of them can be in the right hands)?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Deeps
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:35 PM

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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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:23 PM

I'm having fun playing "WAV Bingo"

Did you miss one?


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM

"This puts it alongside the (Spanish) guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, etc as an instrument of the modern revival rather than a proper English folk instrument."

I'm intrigued to know what you class as a proper English folk instrument. The only one that I can think of is the concertina, though that may have been developed for other purposes.


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Subject: RE: The English Guitar/Cittern
From: Def Shepard
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM

Learn to play the damned instrument then get back to us!


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