Citole

Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Description: 
13th century citole in the shape of a holly leaf
Model: 
stone sculpture at the Strasbourg cathedral

The citole was a very common instrument in Northern Europe from the 12th to 14th century. It varied a lot in shape and size, number of strings, gut or wire strings, single or double courses, tunings. It might be seen as the common ancestor of the Renaissance guitar and the cittern.

This is not a quiet instrument like the harp. It can produce a lot of sound, can be played very fast and is ideal for self-accompaniment for singers and story-tellers.

A most attractive shape is the holly leaf. Usually the instrument is carved from a single block of wood, often walnut. Just the top is spruce.

Typical is also the animal head. Here a personal touch comes in. Instead of going for some medieval beast I asked Florian, if he could carve my own dog. This is how an Airedale terrier came to be immortalized on a Medieval instrument.

Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Citole by Florian Jougneau - Photo: Michael Dollendorf