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chittarone. Largest of the lute family, developed in It. during 16th cent. Larger than its close relative the theorbo, both being designed as accompanying instr. and to improve on the bass register of the lute. However a solo repertory exists. Stringing was variable, 6 double courses and 8 single basses being the most usual. Mentioned by Caccini in his Le nuove musiche (1602).