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Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?

24 Sep 99 - 01:21 PM (#117335)
Subject: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: Doctor John

Can anyone help on this? I always thought the guitar came from Spain and the mandolin from Italy; I've never discovered the origin of the cittern (Oh you mean the sitar, mate!). And the 12 string guitar from Mexico. A recent visit to the V&A museum in London showed an amazing collection; among them 12 string English guitar (early 16th century ?) which looked like a big mandolin; and much else. No experts to help and we were shoo'ed out as it was closing time so couldn't take it all in. Cards in glass cases quite hopeless, descriptive with no history. Could anyone help with history and development of these instruments. Dr John. PS recently discovered that the men (Wheatstones brothers) who developed the electric telegraph invented the concertina!

24 Sep 99 - 01:42 PM (#117346)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: wildlone

There is an instument made by traditional Portugesse? luthiers with 8 to 10 double coursed strings that they call the english guitar.
In a book i once owned on the history of guitars {since stolen/borrowed}the guitar seemed to be an offshoot of the lute dating back to late middle ages.WL.

24 Sep 99 - 07:02 PM (#117474)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: John of the Hill

Dr.John, A good place to start looking into citterns and such is: You'll find this to be a group of instruments filled with ambiguities.John

24 Sep 99 - 11:05 PM (#117518)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: T in Oklahoma

My take on this:

The guitar was originally pear-shaped, with four strings, and this medieval guitar is usually nowadays called a "gittern", which was one of the names for it at the time. The Spaniards, at some point, changed the shape to the hourglass shape we know today; they got the shape from another instrument of theirs, the vihuela. The resulting "Spanish guitar" and the vihuela thereafter resembled one another, but the guitar (at first) usually had four strings and was smaller. The Spanish guitar and the vihuela have since grown larger. The Spanish guitar also spawned a daughter instrument, the ukulele.

The pear-shaped guitar lingered on even after the invention of the Spanish guitar, but the spanish shape in the end swept all before it

29 Dec 99 - 11:04 PM (#155491)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: Okiemockbird

Pictures of medieval guitars can be found here. The caption calls the instrument a "mandora" but notes that others (of whom I am one) think that the pictures they show are pictures of guitars.


30 Dec 99 - 12:00 PM (#155680)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: Ole Bull

Here's a site I found most e-lute-cidating;

30 Dec 99 - 01:10 PM (#155701)
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)

"Joseph of Locksley" warns his readers that not all will agree with his terminology for the guitar. This is true, for I do not. Furthermore, as I read the literature, most scholars wouldn't, either. Scholars consider the distinction between "latin guitar" and "moorish guitar" to be too local and rare to serve as a basis for a general theory of this pan-European instrument. And what J of L calls a "guittern" most scholars now call a citole. T.