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Wednesday

Zithers





The first two pictured are the Pianolin and the Marxophone. These instruments were sold door to door in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and were all variations on the zither theme. The Pianolin is a combination of a zither and a bowed psaltry, the Marxophone is combination of a zither and a hammered string instrument (with great metal hammers on spring-steel arms). Then pictured is a German concert zither and bowed zither both from the 19th century. The last is an African raft zither that features thin bamboo strips instead of strings that are hammered instead of plucked or bowed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the picture of the 19th century German Concert Zither. I was recently given a zither by a friend who got it at a flea market (with some 19th century black mold infested scores). It has some oddities: the fretted strings have the treble closest to the player (a reversal, as I understand it, from the usual - & different from what I'm accustomed to with every other stringed instrument I've ever played) & there're only 25 open strings instead of the apparently more common 27 to 37. I need to research the German Concert Zither more because the conventional tuning of the fretted strings to a, a, d, g, c seems to not apply here because the 2 fretted bass strings are not the same thickness. Perhaps the strangest thing to me is that the 18th, 23rd, & 25th frets don't go all the way across the fingerboard. They may just be broken.

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