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Archlutes and Chittarroni/Italian Theorboes

Italian chitarroni are generally very large instruments. Most surviving instruments have stopped string lengths between 85 and 89 cm, though there are also some even larger instruments, which may have been used in especially large churches and public spaces.


  • 64cms. & 134cms string lengths. Based on the 1639 Matteo Sellas archlute in Bologna (Museo Civico #1748). 35 ribs of yew or rosewood

Chittarroni/Italian Theorboes

  • 85cms. & 170 cms. string lengths. Christoph Koch (Berlin),1650.15 ribs Kingwood or Rose wood
  • 89cms. & 178 cms. string lengths. Based on the 1614 Matheus Buechenberg instrument in the V&A. London. 39 ribs of yew or rosewood

In the above list the measurement shows the string length from nut to bridge. Specific associations of string length and pitch are avoided, but the following are approximate guides for instruments of 6-10 courses.

60 cm – “g” tuning
64 cm – “f#” tuning
67 cm – “f” tuning
70 cm – “f” tuning

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