Instruments | Cittern | Renaissance | Classical
The cittern was a plucked stringed instrument of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was strung with wire and played not with the right fingers but by using a quill plectrum, rather like the cittole and gittern of the medieval era. The body was flat both back and front, with a pear-shaped face. The fingerboard lay on the front of a short neck ending in a peg box, usually carved. Known in classical Rome and in the Dark Ages, the instrument originally had an elongated, tapering body and no fingerboard. The fingerboard that it acquired had on its surface a series of wooden graduations descending to the peg box, rather than the gut frets used on lutes and viols.
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