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What is a Citole?

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CITOLE, also spelled Sytole, Cythole, Gytolle, &c. (probably a Fr. diminutive form of cithara, and not from Lat. cista, a box), an obsolete musical instrument of which the exact form is uncertain. It is frequently mentioned by poetical writers of the 13th to the 15th centuries, and is found in Wycliffe’s Bible (1360) in 2 Samuel vi. 5, “Harpis and sitols and tympane.” The Authorized Version has “psaltiries,” and the Vulgate “lyrae.” It has been supposed to be another name for the psaltery (q.v.), a box-shaped instrument often seen in the illuminated missals of the middle ages.


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