What type of Zither have I got?
There are two types of zither that are played in the European alpine region:
The Concert Zither
The zither above is a concert zither, a student model with 5 fret board strings and about 27 accompaniment strings. Professional models often have 40 or more strings and some are very ornate. The latest trend is to build bigger bodied zithers to increase the sound volume, but the basic design is the same.
Playing the Concert Zither
The melody is played on the fret board ; Thumb, index-,middle-, ring-finger of the left hand press down the strings between the frets to produce notes of different pitch. The right thumb plucks the 5 melody strings with a ring.
Accompaniment is played on the open strings with index, middle and ring finger of the right hand; the ring finger plays the bass, index and middle finger play 3 chord strings.
The Chord Zither
The German name is “AKKORD ZITHER”; it has no fret board only open strings, sometimes single strings, sometimes double strings, often ornate folk art painting.. Some chord zithers come with printed music which sits under the strings. The player can then pluck the strings following dots, similar to painting with dots.
The basic design is to have the melody strings on the right and they are plucked with a ring on the right thumb.
The chord zither is still played in Switzerland.
Further information on the German Zitherbund web site www.zitherbund.de
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