The ‘plucked giga’: a medieval musical mystery

Two ‘plucked gigas’ in Rylands Beatus Latin MS 8, late 12th or early 13th century.

It wasn’t until the second half of the 1970s that previous confusion about medieval plucked instruments was cleared up and clarified. Until then, the gittern was confused with both the citole and the mandora, for example, and the cetra was still not known to exist at all. On this journey of musical and historical discovery, there are still some instruments that have yet to be identified. One is seen in 12th–14th century manuscripts and in a carving in Lincoln Cathedral. For the purpose of this feature, it is called the ‘plucked giga’. This article sets out the little that is known and appeals for any leads that may help in its identification.  

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