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La Cetra Cornuta : the Horned Lyre of the Christian World

“La Cetra Cornuta : the Horned Lyre of the Christian World ”A musical instrument of substantial importance in the history of Christianity, specifically during the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods in Italy, the cetra was the forerunner of the stringed instrument known in English since the 16th-c. as “cittern”.This study of Crawford Young presents a detailed examination of the chordophone, featuring an iconographical catalog assembled from the visual arts c. 1100 - c. 1540. The field of iconographical data presented in the catalog is then analyzed, together with relevant literary and music theory sources from the same period, to give a definitive account of the instrument’s morphology, evolution, construction, cultural identity, musical function and repertories. Art historians as well as music historians and players of mediëval and Renaissance instruments will find answers to questions raised about this uniquely Italian ancestor of the High Renaissance and Baroque cittern, as will anyone seeking to gain a more focused view of musical instrument history in Italy during the centuries that shaped Western culture; for here is a stringed instrument recalling Classical Antiquity, and one of quintessential importance to both Christians and Humanists: made in Italy.

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