Frank Nordberg wrote:

> Picking up an old thread here.
> I've finally had time to translate the entire cittern chapter from 
> Aksdal's book about musical instruments in Norway, and Stuart suggested 
> I post it on the list.

Fascinating stuff. I think the major anachronisms are the Preston tuning
mechanism, which dates from at least 1743 (one US museum site has 1734
and I think this a misprint); also, the Smith keyboard mechanism
(external) is well before the 1780s mentioned for keyed citterns. And I
do not think the English cittern derives from the Italian at all, I am
sure it derives from the German and its popularity had much to do with
the arrival of a Hanoverian monarchy.

Always wondered whether the Bremner name - Robert Bremner - is an
indicator of a 2nd generation Scots German. It is 'Bremener' I guess,
and there must have been substantial trade between Bremen and the Scots
East Coast ports.

I'm just reading up the Troubadours having found an excellent book of
that name published in 1976 and full of unprintable translated lyrics,
proving that 'courtly love' was just a wee bit more physical than purely

I am pleased to find 'citharistas' mentioned in the 1100s. 12th century,
not 14th century, and probably even earlier from the context. Looks as
if guitar/cittern is firmly referenceable to 11th-12th century.

The same book dates Arabic musical influences to the 9th and 10th
centuries and more or less fixes modern Western European music and
poetry as having cross-cultural origins with the Arab world,
pre-crusade. The lute is mentioned in Western courts in the 10th
century. I had no idea it went back that far, and imagined 13th-14th c
emergence from earlier crusades.


To get on or off this list see list information at

Reply via email to