Video encyclopedia



John Dowland: Tarleton’s Resurrection – orpharion


Playfellow by Anthony Holborne c. 1545-1602 played by Tommy Johansson - Orpharion


Orpharion-Medley, Richard Labschütz


Philips - Pavan / Richard MacKenzie (Orpharion)


Ferrabosco I - Fantasia / Richard MacKenzie (Orpharion)

The orpharion ( or ) or opherion is a plucked stringed instrument from the Renaissance, a member of the cittern family. Its construction is similar to the larger bandora and an ancestor of the guitar. The metal strings are tuned like a lute and are plucked with the fingers. The nut and bridge of an orpharion are typically sloped, so that the string length increases from treble to bass. Due to the extremely low-tension metal strings, which would easily distort the notes when pushed down, the frets were almost flush with the fingerboard, which was gently scalloped. As with all metal-strung instruments of the era, a very light touch with the plucking hand was required, quite different from the sharper attack used on the lute.
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