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Medieval life and Times

Definition and Description of the Gittern
Definition and description of the Gittern: The Gittern can be described as being similar to a modern guitar. Description: An instrument like a small guitar, the gittern was a relatively small, quill-plucked, gut strung instrument. Its back was rounded like that of a lute ,however, the gittern was much smaller, and had no clear division between the body and neck. "Harps, lutes, and giternes" is a quote taken from the writing of Geoffrey Chaucer. 

Family of Instruments: The Gittern belongs to the family of String instruments.

Medieval Musical Instruments - Gittern
Medieval Musical instruments, including the Gittern, would be used by the musicians of the period including the Waits, Minstrels or Troubadours. There were three categories of musical instruments in the Middle Ages - wind, string and percussion. Terms of description were Bas instruments and Haut instruments. Bas referred to soft instruments (literally, "low," but referring to volume, not pitch) which were suitable for the chamber which included the vielle, rebec and other bowed strings, the lute and other plucked strings. Haut referred to loud instruments (literally "high" but referring to volume, not to pitch) which were suitable for outdoors which included the shawm, sackbut, pipe and tabor.

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