Pianoforte Guittar (Keyed cittern/English Guittar)

Christian Claus German

Not on view

The English guittar [sic] was a six-course wire-strung cittern, most popular in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century. Christian Claus was the first patent holder for the "pianoforte guittar", an invention which integrated a piano hammer mechanism into the body of the cittern. This novel instrument enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1780s, but in 1789 Claus left London for New York (fleeing his creditors) and his competitors also ceased making them at around this time. There are a few pianoforte guittars by Claus that were made in New York.

This instrument would have originally had six keys on the soundboard (the location is still visible) which, when pressed, would cause hammers to strike the strings through the sound hole.

(Daniel Wheeldon, 2023)

Pianoforte Guittar (Keyed cittern/English Guittar), Christian Claus (German, active London ca. 1783–1793 New York), Various woods, bone, ivory, brass, British

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