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[sit-ern] /ˈsɪt ərn/
an old musical instrument related to the guitar, having a flat, pear-shaped soundbox and wire strings.
1550-60; blend of cither and gittern Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for cittern


a medieval stringed instrument resembling a lute but having wire strings and a flat back Compare gittern
Word Origin
C16: perhaps a blend of cither + gittern
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for cittern

plucked stringed musical instrument that was popular in the 16th-18th century. It had a shallow, pear-shaped body with an asymmetrical neck that was thicker under the treble strings. Derived from the citole, a similar 14th- and 15th-century instrument with gut strings, the cittern had four unison courses of wire strings. Diapasons, additional courses to reinforce the basses of chords, were also common. The strings were hitched to the instrument end and passed over a violin-type, or pressure, bridge. Tuning of the principal strings was B-G-D-E (Italian) or A-G-D-E (French) in the octave below middle C

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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