Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I am so getting one!
The cittern comes from an ancient family of Western European and British Isles instruments, having in common a teardrop shaped body, wire strings typically grouped in pairs and a flat or slightly curved back.
The cittern is typically played with a pick, although there certainly isn’t a rulebook stating that it always must be done so. The whole range of ornaments used in guitar and mandolin apply, including hammer-ons, pull-offs, triplets and even adopted piping tricks such as ‘cranning’.
Semi-open tunings maintain most of the drone effects and easy melodic playing available with completely open tunings, but increase chordal possibilities.
D - A - E - A - E
The high range is open, but a four chord is a lot easier (and better sounding).
D - G - D - A - D
There are two general approaches to stringing the cittern. The first is to use matched pairs (or courses) of strings. Each pair is tuned in unison, as is done with familiar mandolin-family instruments.
A second approach is suggested by historical citterns or by the twelve-string guitar, in which a lighter-gauge string is paired with a heavier to sound the same note an octave apart. This results in a complex, chiming sound with lower string tension and easier possibilities of ornamentation, fast play etc. This setup also shifts the instrument's sound more towards delicacy and treble.
I love how these things sound!
I have no idea yet, what they cost, but I am saving already!