Organology: Harp Guitar "Relatives"

Note to the casual reader or researcher: This Reference Gallery features historical instruments that are not harp guitars, but “relatives” or distant “cousins” – presented on for historical and organological comparison.

by Gregg Miner

I separate this group into what I call "true" arch-citterns and "false" arch-citterns. The instruments of the first group are theorboed versions of historically traditional "true" citterns. The second (and most common) group consists of superficially similar instruments, descended from guittars (aka "English guitars")(ergo "false" citterns). Stringing and tuning are the main factors that separate the two general groups.

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W. Tieffenbrucker, Padua, c. 1590

The so-called
"poliphant" is classified as a "harp-cittern."

Thomas Robinson, 1609 Andreas E. Kram, Nuremberg, 1768 Kram, 1785 Johann G. Klemm, Radeberg, 1755

                                                            "False" (arch-cistre, arch-guittar, etc.)

French, c.1780 French, c.1780 Renault, Paris, late 18th century Renault & Chatekain, Paris, 1787

Liesem, 1757

G. Deleplanque, Lille, 1792 The German "waldzither" (they consider it a "necked" zither) is a cittern variant. Usually with 9 strings, some have more, and some have the lower single basses off the neck like this one.

For more information on the cittern, visit the wonderful Renovata Cythara site.
For more information on the guittar and its relatives, see P. Poulopoulos: The Guittar in the British Isles, 1750-1810


What is a Harp Guitar?


Harp Guitar Family Tree

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