Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ZITHER!!!

The Rogue Speaks:



Hurrah for Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday! We have really stretched our minds today, haven't we, students! So many Zs to pick from! Hahahaha! Well, here is what I know about the ZITHER:

Who can forget that poignant scene in Dr. Zhivago where the young girl (Zhivago's daughter by Lara) is walking away at the end of the film carrying her zither? Did you know it was a zither?? Well, it is also called a dulcimer, or an autoharp.

The zither is Germany's national instrument. If you have ever seen the classic noir film, The Third Man, the entire score is played on a zither, by a gentleman named Anton Karas.

The strings on a zither are the same length as the sounding board, a flat shallow box. It is played with the left hand on the frets, while the right hand plucks the strings using a thumb piece called a plectrum. The zither can be played on a table, or across the player's knees.

The zither is a very old instrument that is actually mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Daniel. The earliest form known is a Chinese instrument dating from 433BC.


"Mother" Maybelle Carter, of the famous Carter Family, was a zither player. Daughters, Sara and June(the wife of Johnny Cash)were also very accomplished on the zither.

The zither is not an easy instrument to learn to play. It takes real dedication, hours of practice, and a GOOD teacher. I don't think I want to try it! I play the piano, the recorder, and the harmonica, but my favorite instrument is the COMB!!

I hope you have enjoyed my "Z" post. Next week we start over with "A"! Oh, the possibilities!

40 comments:

Rinkly Rimes said...

What an informative post! I saw the musical of Dr Zhivago (another 'z'!) a week ago!

Mary said...

I'm fairly certain I could NOT play the zither! Happy A-T, I've enjoyed your journey thru the alphabet :-)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

My great uncle was a German Zither player! I kid you not.....

He also fixed everything and anything, clocks, toasters, even teeth! I remember that he had a barber's chair in the basement where he cut hair and pulled teeth....

Dr. Zhivago is one of my all time favorites...sigh..

Nick said...

Dr. Z is so long, I'd forgotten about the zither scene.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

OH! I love to listen to all genres of music and different instruments. (If only I had the musical gene within me!) But thankfully, our children got the music genes from my hubby and my mom's family. Our son would love to get a zither too...he taught himself to play the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukelele, accordian, banjo...and loves to try any instrument. Thanks for yet another great post and the lovely music accompanying it!
Blessings & Aloha!
and ...thank you for tracking me down after my big blooper in linking! haha

EG Wow said...

I love the sound of a zither but I could never play it either. We have something in common - I can play the comb too. :))

askcherlock said...

I love the word "zither". It is one of those words that was meant for music. But Judie, I know you are a talented artist, though I never knew you play piano, recorder, harmonica, and comb. You are truly multi-talented, my sister!

Teresa said...

Wow! That's more than I ever thought. Okay, I never thought about the zither. Thanks for such an interesting and educational post. I think it's an instrument I shouldn't pick up as difficult as it sounds.

Jackie said...

very interesting and no I didn't know it was a zither in dr. shivago

La said...

Hi Judie!

Thanks for the (Z)ippy music to compliment your post.

Have a wonderful rest of the week. La

Tammy said...

Wow--you are truly a woman of many talents!

dlmsliceofpie said...

Hey! Make sure you take a look at my zither post! Love yours ...

Pondside said...

I played the zither when I was young - surprise! I love the sound and don't know why I gave it up. Perhaps, at the time, the guitar was more exciting, and I was after a sound that was a little less 'folk'.
Great 'z'!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love that it is in the book of Daniel. Maybe JDaniel will play it one day.

mrs. c said...

Is it like an autoharp? I adore Dr. Zhivago and that last scene. Yes, I did know that Reelfoot was made by an earthquake, one of the reasons I wanted to go is to see a place so different from where I live but still in Tennessee. Jeff says that there are 3 states in the state of Tennessee because of all the diversity! Thanks for your kind comments.

Pranavam Ravikumar a.k.a. Kochuravi said...

Loved your post!

Cindy Adkins said...

I am a zither player and used to play it professionally, so I sure love this post!
XO

Akseli Koskela said...

I had no idea. Such a venerable old instrument and until today if you'd shown me one I never could've told you what it was called.

☆☆Mumsy said...

I do enjoyed reading and learning from this post, Judie!

I think we should bring the zither back, and introduce it to schools.

Wanda Metcalf said...

I'm from full German on my mother side and my father's mother was full German and his father was full Scotch. I was so surprised to see the word zither!!! All I have ever heard it call here was a "hand harp." Now I know a couple of other name for it too. Oh boy, I was made full aware that June Carter played it!! lol

This was really and awesome post!! Great job =0)

nothingprofound said...

In the little backwater where I live, the zither/dulcimer/autoharp is a very popular instrument. The musicians here are very "old timey" and love and play folk music from all over the world. I've been amazed at how many different types of zithers there are, and the variety and versatility of the instrument.

Lola said...

Hi Judie,

Love zither music - especially in The Third Man! So atmospheric!

Great post as always,

XOXO Lola:)

Life in Rehab said...

Lovely idea for Z! I love unusual instruments and exotic music; I'm googling as we speak!

ChrisJ said...

Great post.

I'm re-learning piano after a long spell without playing much - it's not like riding a bicycle!

Coleridge wrote about "a damsel with a dulcimer," much better than "zither" in that case.

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

Zither....I know it as the Dulcimer. Thanks for the info and the Z word for Dulcimer. It's been fun learning your Rogue Artist Alphabet!

hip-chick said...

Great post! I like the way the zither sounds. who knew?

Sarah said...

The Chinese version is called guzhung and I love the sound of it. It's long and sounds similar to harp. But that woman in the picture is Japanese! :)

Judie said...

Thanks, Sarah. I changed the picture to a Chinese woman playing a guzhung.

Ames said...

I am a zither player too! Well, I can play two songs on my auto harp, self taught!~Ames

Sarah said...

Great new picture! No worries. Those two cultures have a lot in common, after all.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

The zither you say. I wonder how someone came up with the shape of the zither. Another new subject you've got me hooked on. :-)

Jo said...

Oh!..I love your blog,so much fun,I'm new follower.Your art is awesome.
I'm JAZZED!to visit.love the ZITHER, such a different and beautiful sound,I was so tickled to see you visit Lazy on loblolly.
Please come on back.
~Jo
Lazy on Loblolly

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Beautiful Z post... beautiful music.

Gattina said...

I had almost forgotten about this instrument, I honnestly prefer a harp !

sm said...

didnt knew it was this instrument in the movie.
even did not knew the name
thanks.

NanE said...

Hi Judie, great Z post today! I love listening to different kinds of music. Your post makes me want to see what is available on iTunes, lol! Have a great weekend, Nan

Splendid Little Stars said...

When I was a little kid, we had to make musical intsruments in school. Mine had rubber bands stretched between nails. I called it a "zither." I thought I was making that name up.
As for the autoharp, there was one of those around my house when I was older. I don't recall why. I don't remember anyone in particular playing it.
Thanks for offering us the history of the zither!

Jenny said...

I love the sound of a zither. Sometimes it almost has a dulcimer dreamy feeling to me.

I haven't thought about zithers in years.

Trust you, to give me a wonderful memory of watching our ancient neighbor sit on the steps of our 1813 farmhouse and play his!

What a fabulous wrap up to your round of Alphabe-Thursday!

You're a gem.

A+

Mari's World said...

Once again I have been enlightened, I didn't know about zithers but now I do. Looking forward to you soup post!

myorii said...

Oh, so that's what they're called in English! I love the sound of the Chinese zither. My dad loves traditional Chinese instrumental music and I grew to love it after hearing it the whole time growing up. The zither is one of my favorites :)