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Blair Flowers

During the mid to late 18th-century, there appeared a wire-strung instrument which could loosely be described as part cittern, part guitar. It was given a variety of names such as guittar, guitar, cistre, cetra, English guitar, and a few others. This site is dedicated to recording and researching the Scottish repertoire for the instrument, both by Scots at home, or Scots in London and elsewhere.

Throughout this site, the instrument will be referred to as the guittar.

Guittar Front 1

My name is Rob MacKillop. In 1998 I recorded five pieces for the guittar on a CD called Flowers Of The Forest (Greentrax 155): I Love My Love In Secret (Nisbet House MS); A Reel and Up Wi It Eli Eli (both from Robert Bremer’s Instructions); and two of my own arrangements from James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion, Tweed Side and The Secret Kiss. I then went on to record James Oswald’s magnificent Twelve Divertimentis for the Guittar in 2001.

On the academic side, I presented two papers at conferences in Portugal and Germany, detailing my initial researches into the guittar from a Scottish perspective. The two countries visited played a major part in the development of the guittar: it seems to have started life as a German cittern, and survives to this day in only a slightly modified form as the Portuguese Guitar. But it is its Scottish manuscripts, publications and social history which I feel best-equipped to explore, through writings and performance.

So, on this site you will find details of each manuscript and publication, as well as video performances and sound files. NB All text, unless otherwise stated, is my own personal research and is copyright to me. Please inform me if you are citing anything from these pages, and, of course, credit the author. 

Please support this free website by donating money. There is a secure PayPal “Support Rob” page HERE. ALL money donated will go to support this site and my equivalent Scottish Lute site https://scottishlute.com – I give my time and money to these projects without financial gain. Anything you donate will directly help maintain these two sites. Your donation could help pay for annual fees to keep the site online, buy a string (I need lots of them!) or – if you can afford it – help pay for an instrument. I currently require £500 to pay for repair to a Guittar in G. This is a non-profit site, with every penny raised being invested in the site and its contents. Thanks in advance!

Please feel free to write comments on the relevant pages. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you might have.

Rob MacKillop
Edinburgh, 2014