Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hispanic citterns in the Americas

From my current cittern collection, you could see at the photograph above, from left to right: a portuguese APC Coimbra fado guitar, a spanish Vicente Sanchis tenor laúd, a mexican Lonestar tenor cuatro, a puertorican Don José tenor cuatro and, a chilean Kirsinger bandola. These are citterns (cistros en castellano), teardrop shaped plectrum family instruments of european origin with 5 or more steel string courses. In earlier times most used single strings and they developed in different hispanic nations within families such as the bandurria and more recently the fado guitars and folk violas from Portugal. In Latin America, these instruments developed some local variations that were at last standarized and popularized into the puertorican cuatro, and the bandola from the colombian Andes, both tuned in perfect fourth.
Some years ago, I wrote some data facts with photographs about alternative tunings and features these citterns have that may ilustrate anyone interested ....