Unprofitable Instruments


The citole is a plucked instrument popular throughout Spain and northern Europe from the 12th through the 14th centuries. It is represented by a magnificent surviving instrument of which my instruments are copies. With plectrum and frets, in many ways the citole is the functional precursor to the mandolin or guitar.

  • One piece body of maple
  • Bent spruce soundboard with decorative rose
  • Dragon head carving
  • Six strings in three courses
  • Large model string length 47-49 cm
  • Small model (BMC size) string length 31-33 cm
Citole, front view
Citole, back view
Citole, side view

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British Museum Citole, c. 1310-1320.

British Museum Citole, c. 1310-1320 (detail).

De Lisle Psalter, English, 1330s.

Walter de Milemete, English, 1326.

Norwich Cathedral Cloisters, English, 1320s.

Toro Collegiate Church, Spanish, 13th c.