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date: 09 May 2021

Citole (Fr. citole; Ger. Zitôl; It. cetra, cetera, cetula; Sp. cítola)locked

  • Laurence Wright


(Fr. citole; Ger. Zitôl; It. cetra, cetera, cetula; Sp. cítola)

A plucked lute of the Middle Ages, particularly the period 1200–1350, related to the Fiddle. It evolved into the Cittern in the 15th century. It was mistakenly called Gittern by Galpin, and is still referred to as such in many modern works. There is an early 14th-century example of a citole in the British Museum.

The body, neck and pegbox were made from one piece of wood, as in the medieval fiddle and gittern. The belly outline shows considerable variety, but there are four common types: (1) the ‘spade-fiddle’ shape, with the shoulders swept upwards to form points (e.g. the carving at the Baptistry of Parma); (2) the ‘fiddle’ shape, an oval with sides either straight or slightly waisted; (3) the ‘holly-leaf’ shape, with sides forming points at the intersections of six concave curves or straight lines; and (4) the ‘shouldered’ shape, with the lower part rounded as in the second type and the upper part forming shoulders as in the third. All types usually have a protuberance at the bottom to which the strings are attached....

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Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er/Koninlijke Bibliotheek Albert I, Section de la Musique
Galpin Society Journal
Utrecht, Universiteit Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek
R.M.A. [Royal Musical Association] Research Chronicle
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Monasterio, Real Biblioteca
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France