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Zither


      Zither is string strummed instrument, in Austria and Germany known from XVIII century, come to Latvia in the second half of XIX century.

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Chordzither with 4 chords

    Chord zithers are played everywhere in Latvia, but most popular they are in Vidzeme. A zither consists of a rectangular body, on which strings are grouped in chords. The necessary chord is played with a mediator, the other hand simultaneously silencing the previous chord.
    Most popular are chord zithers with 7 chords.
    Usually chord zither contains only major chords.

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Cylindrical chord zither

    Cylindrical chord zither contains all 12 major chords and represents an optimized type of a chord zither.

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Zither with manual

    Zither with a manual (so-called pedal zither) has trapezium body, on which strained strings are placed according the height of sounding. Perpendicularly above the strings a manual table with 3-10 manuals is attached - so called buttons or keys. By pressing a manual, unnecessary strings are muffled and a "ready" major or minor chord is formed.
    In Vidzeme and Northern Latgalia also combined or "halfmajor" zithers are made. A part of their strings is grouped on-chord, but others are used for performance of the melody.
    Seldom, basically in cities, Austrian and German elegical zithers have been played, having a typical neck (similar to the neck of a guitar), on which 4-5 strings are stretched and near by, on the sounding board, 25-40 strings of accompaniment are situated.


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Last time modified
26 January 2006



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