On Wednesday 12th January 2005 I took delivery of an antique Hungarian Citera in need of some considerable attention; an instrument once popular throughout the villages of the Great Plain, the Citera (pronounced CHEE-TEH-RAH with the emphasis on the 2nd syllable) is a similar instrument in many ways to the hummel; a European board-zither certainly, but with the addition of a second row of frets giving chromatic & harmonic possibilities whilst maintaining its essentially modal & monophonic nature.
This is the fulfillment of a dream some 27 years in the making, since having first heard Anne Osnowycz playing the Citera (in accompaniment to Rene Zosso's superlative rendering of Bernart de Ventadorn's Quand vie la Lauzeta Mover as part of the Clemencic Consort's Troubadours trilogy...) and thought to myself, '...that has to be better than an Appalachian Dulcimer...'
During the process of restoration it occured to me that the interface between the corporeal
variables of such traditional handcrafted musical instruments and their
conceptual blueprint is akin the linguistic interface between subjective
cognition & objective culture as postulated by Vygotsky in his Zone of
Proximal Development; thus each material manifestation is utterly unique -
the corporeal morphology being defined by factors of pragmatic & dynamic
immediacy rather than any higher aspirant aestheticism, as might be the case
with manufactured or mass-produced instruments where the outcome is pretty
much a foregone conclusion.
By what process this Citera then survives 150
years of critical cultural history to manifest itself as an essential component
in a 21st century musical context I do not know; but
after much TLC (not to mention blood, sweat, tears & a sprained wrist into the bargain...) the restoration of this instrument is now as complete as seems reasonable & it's now fully functional & exceeding my every expectation.
Click middle image, bottom row above for Mp3 of a short improvisation played on this instrument by Sedayne; Fleetwood, Lancs. Sunday 4th September 2005.
Sedayne performing a traditional English May Carol midst the bonny bluebells of Houghall Woods, Durham, UK on Tuesday the 1st of May 2007.