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Infomation on Zither

Related threads:
Zither info please... (19)
Tuning and Playing the Zither (37)
Skepticism and the Zither. (30)


bill\sables 17 May 99 - 02:45 PM
Mudjack 17 May 99 - 03:11 PM
John Wood 17 May 99 - 04:41 PM
Susan of DT 17 May 99 - 06:50 PM
Chet W. 17 May 99 - 07:34 PM
Ferrara 18 May 99 - 08:28 PM
Mark Roffe 19 May 99 - 01:29 AM
GUEST,Shawna M 17 Jul 09 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Guest, Emily B 23 Nov 09 - 02:20 AM
GUEST 04 Mar 10 - 07:01 AM
doc.tom 06 Mar 10 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Jac R 22 Apr 10 - 12:15 PM
Jack Campin 22 Apr 10 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,kim 26 May 11 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 May 11 - 11:58 AM
Bill D 27 May 11 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 May 11 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 27 May 11 - 05:53 PM
GUEST 01 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,jofrruco 21 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,autoharpist 22 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Sep 11 - 05:43 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Dawn 02 Jun 13 - 07:54 PM
Bill D 03 Jun 13 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Jun 13 - 11:49 AM
JohnInKansas 04 Jun 13 - 04:43 PM
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Subject: Infomation on Zither
From: bill\sables
Date: 17 May 99 - 02:45 PM

Hi all, I have just had a phone call from my brother and he has just got himself a zither and asked me about it, I don't know the first thing about zithers so I was sure some mudcatter would be able to help, The name is Lion Zither made by the Anglo American Zither Company address New York U.S.A., Melbourne Australia and no 325 Ugger street Islington London EnglanThere is a marking on it with a patent taken out Oct 7th 1899 It is about 2ft wide and about 18 inches deep. Can anyone give me any information on this instrument as to what it's worth etc. Apparantly it is still in it's origional box. Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Mudjack
Date: 17 May 99 - 03:11 PM

Once I asked a friend of mine about one I had seen in a junk shop that was in very bad condition, he said the best thing to do for it would be remove all the strings and other metal parts and throw it in the fireplace. I still don't agree with that advice, especially since it's in perfect condition. I have seen similiar instruments played and have to guess it requires an abillity to tune it(like an autoharp)and from there one might dink with it until you find some tunes or sounds that make sense.If anyone would have instruction on the instrument, it will likely be Elderly Instruments
www.elderly.com

Good luck, sounds like a real find.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: John Wood
Date: 17 May 99 - 04:41 PM

Hi Bill.
I bought a zither at an aution about a year ago.
It's a really beautifull instrument,but was unfortunatly damaged(that's why I got it so cheap).I paid 400NKr.--which is about £32 or $50.
The modell I have is from 1907,is made in Norway and has the name``Harpeleik´´written across the middle.
The wood was badly spilt,so I had to take all the strings off.I've managed to glue it back together but have not got around to restring yet.(A new set of strings cost me far more than I paid for the whole thing---there's 64 strings).

Greetings John.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Susan of DT
Date: 17 May 99 - 06:50 PM

When Ferrara is back on line, ask her about it. She plays one.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Chet W.
Date: 17 May 99 - 07:34 PM

Try

http://users.success.net/williams/index.html

Good Luck, Chet


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Ferrara
Date: 18 May 99 - 08:28 PM

Hi. Just got back from an extended enforced absence due to misbehavior of some software.

Thanks, thanks, Chet, for the guitar-zither site! It's fantastic. He can tell you far more than I can about them. I play a six-chord guitar-zither, date and origins unknown. It came with a playsheet in German, my mother's best friend had it in her attic and offered it to me. It also came with all its strings, and the musical notation and name of each note is printed in gold on the instrument (but, alas, at the other end from the tuning pegs.) It has a decal of a red rose on the front. Inside it says, "Made in Germany .. Marke Fomen."

I play it the way Kelly Williams does, rather than in the traditional German or Austrian style, for the reason he mentions: that way, you can use your fingers as well as your thumb for picking melodies.

I also was given a concert (fretted) zither for my last birthday (by Lorraine, SongBob and their significant others). Bill D and Songbob found it in a flea market. It only had about five strings, all pretty ratty. More on that later. A few comments on what Williams says:

Zithers can cost anywhere from under $50 to over $2500 for a new concert-zither. Generally, the plain zithers and guitar zithers run under $100 for several reasons: They are very hard to play, it's a pain (and expensive) to find strings, and many times the back will bow if you tune them up to standard pitch. I tune mine a half-note low, i.e. B-flat is tuned to standard A-440.

Strings can be a real problem. A couple of years ago, the House of Musical Traditions had to locate strings for a zither. The number of configurations and possible sets of strings is huge. They ordered strings from Germany, (La Bella, I think) and it took months to arrive. They shuddered when I asked if they could order strings for my new one. BUT. Lark in the Morning does have them, and they seem to know how to describe what you need, eg for mine there are 6 sets of chords and 2 octaves of melody strings, including all the accidentals. I think from that sort of description, they can figure out what you need. I don't have the site address for Lark in the Morning, but I'm sure you can find it with a search.

Thanks again, Bill for starting this thread, and Chet for pointing to that great zither site! - Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 19 May 99 - 01:29 AM

Asked my zither-collecting friend about Bill's question at the top of this thread, and he said:
"...No idea as to worth, however, there were numerous zither like instruments made here during the last half of the 19th century and sold door to door in rural america. Usually the salesman brought his daughter who could play it with ease. There was a wide variety in the configurations of the instrument including how many strings, the tuning, the way it was played. Some were called Zither but often they had invented names...
...This, however, sounds like a true zither since the company is international. Although you never know. You have to look at the string configuaration and see how it is tuned to tell if it is a true zither...the upper portion was a regular chromatic scale..."
Hope that helps, Bill. Is the daughter still in the original packaging?

Bark Woof


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,Shawna M
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:03 PM

Hi there, my Mom has a Harpeleik Zither, it is about 2 feet by 2 feet. It was origanally from Norway, but has a stcker on the inside that says John Skaug Music shop, 1211 Belmont Ave. Chicago, Illinois. It has been in my family for a very long time, my Mom recently passed away and my Dad is curious about finding more about it. Any information would be appreciated.It is in good shape.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,Guest, Emily B
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:20 AM

Hello,
A friend of mine has a zither that is just like the one described by Shawna M. About that size too. It also says John Skaug Music shop, and has the address 1211 Belmont Ave. Chicago, ILL. written on it. It is made of black painted wood with some other designs painted on it. Missing some strings but supposed to have 84 of them. The word "Harpeleik" is also written on it. It's in a wooden box with green velvety fabric on the inside.
I'm looking for any information as to the origin of it and it's value.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you so much,
Emily


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:01 AM

Harpeleik - it's a Norwegian-style Zither, and doesn't have chromatic notes like the German guitar-zither; instead it only has major chords.
They are 'peasant's instruments' so hence the chords config and/or the notation scribed on the body.
Having said that - a brand new or refurbished one (if you have any luck finding one) can be pricey, but also pricey to refurbish yourself if you're that way inclined.
My advice, to anyone, would just be to keep hold of it and play it - they're incredibly versatile, simple to begin with, and simply sound angelic.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: doc.tom
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 10:18 AM

The Harpeleik is also Swedish. Although the markings - if there are any - show major chords, there's nothing stopping it being tuned to minors. The arpeggio of pegs for each chord lets you play the melody - so not sooooo simple. Try http://www.musikzentrum.de/hopf/default.htm for all sorts of Zithers from a current manufacturer (but not the Alpine Zither - that's the one with a fretboard and five strings on it: Third Man theme, etc.). Hopf are also very helpful for getting new strings.
TomB


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,Jac R
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 12:15 PM

I have a 90 to 100 year old marx piano phone with 39 strings, this was sold to me by an 85 year olds mother who was 100 years old and still with us today,he called it a zither but the manufacturers circle on the inside says its a piano phone. my guess is its a old zither? is it worth anything?


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 12:27 PM

I've seen one of them (described as a Marxophone) on EBay a few years ago. I mentioned it on Dick Gaughan's forum as something he ought to go for. Somebody pointed out it had built-in strikers.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,kim
Date: 26 May 11 - 07:48 PM

Ferrara, I also have the same harp as you do with the rose and from Western Germany with the name Marke Foman on it. I picked it up a flea market booth. I could not find anything on Google about it though. Mine is in mint condition. It doesn't even look like it has ever been used. It also came with a playbook and in a blue alligator looking case with blue felt lining inside it. I would like to learn to play it. It is a beautiful instument.

Kim


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 May 11 - 11:58 AM

Hi, Kim. Best of luck with your new instrument. Is it a harpeleik? If so, search for harpeleik on Google.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Bill D
Date: 27 May 11 - 02:00 PM

She says she has one just like my wife, Ferrara. It is really a zither, which lays flat, not a 'harp' which usually refers to something held vertically. I told her about this thread and she will comment later.

(I will try to post a pic of Ferrara's later.)


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 May 11 - 02:21 PM

So if it has a rose on it and says Marke Foman, it's a zither for sure?

Whichever, there's info if you Google how to play zither.

True zither sounds like a challenging instrument.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 27 May 11 - 05:53 PM

Strings sizes for some model zithers:



http://www.kahnhome.org/zithers/AllStrings.html


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM

Thanks I will look harpeleik to see if I can find something.

Kim


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,jofrruco
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM

hey, i am going through my random instruments and i came across a similar autoharp. it says 'autoharp Marke Fomen made in west germany" as well. did you happen to find anything on who fomen is or any idea what it might be worth? mine is a 5chord but has an angel on the front. any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,autoharpist
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM

I have a 6-bar 20 string G/Em autoharp, bought many years ago at an auction. There is a design of flowers and green leaves under the 'long-strings', but no maker's name or any hint of its provenance. Does any expert on here happen to be able to identify it from this description?


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:43 AM

I have one quite similar to the one Guest Autoharpist describes above ~~ it is the one that features on several videos on my Youtube channel ~~ but mine has 25 strings, the bottom five numbered with Roman numerals I-V, the others 1-20 in Arabic numbers. I too know nothing of its origin ~ can't even remember where I got it; by inheritance possibly, but it was a long while ago anyhow. Mine carries no maker's name or date or any such either, and I too wonder if there is enough evidence in Aut's and my descriptions to give anybody any clue.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:39 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,Dawn
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 07:54 PM

Hello...I just inherited a harpeleik zither from my Mother. She is Norweigian as was her Mother.   There is one string that is loose.....does anyone know how to replace it or reattach it? What type of finger pick do I need? Should it be metal? I am going to try teaching myself to play by just messing around with it and making up my own songs and would appreciate any help anyone here can provide.
Thanks so much!
Dawn


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 12:01 PM

"loose"?? Is it still attached? Does she have the key..(the tuning wrench that fits over the pegs for tuning?) My wife uses metal picks, but it can simply be a matter of personal preference about the sound.

Getting the 'right' replacement strings for and old zither can be tricky... and it is often useful to have someone with experience, if at all possible, help you with the details of changing and adjusting strings the first time.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 11:49 AM

Hi, Dawn. Go to youtube and look at the harpeleik videos. People seem to play them with 'hammers' not finger picks.

There's a site for fretless zithers that may help you with the strings. Sorry, I lost the URL.


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Subject: RE: Infomation on Zither
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 04:43 PM

Of possible interest, from Wikipedia:

Zither

> The term zither is mentioned in Daniel during the Jewish exile of 606 BC; however, the earliest known instrument of the zither family is a Chinese guqin [a fretless instrument], found in the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng dating from 433 BC.[1]

> The instrument has a prominent solo in one of Johann Strauss II's most famous waltzes, "Tales from the Vienna Woods" (sometimes played on a mandolin, when a zither is not available). In Slovenia, at the end of the 19th century, they were used in small towns or villages and for concerts.

> The zither went through two periods of great popularity in the United States. The first of these was in the late 19th thorugh early 20th century, when it was greatly in vogue as a parlour instrument in may homes. During that period, a number of U.S.-based instrument manufacturers, many of them founded by, or employing European (and especially German and Austrian) luthiers, were producing concert zithers. By the 1920s zither popularity had begun to wane, as other instruments (notably guitars) increased in popularity. There was, however, a revival of interest in the 1950s, due in great measure to the success the 1949 British film The Third Man, the soundtrack of which prominently featured the zither. This new popularity lasted until well into the 1960s, as evidenced by the many successful albums during that period of performers like Anton Karas, Ruth Welcome, and Shirley Abicair.

> In modern entertainment, the zither is perhaps most famous for its role in the soundtrack of the classic noir film The Third Man. The music for the film was played by Anton Karas. His "The Third Man Theme" was released as a single in 1949/50 and became a best-seller in the UK.[2] Following its release in the U.S. in 1950, it spent eleven weeks at number one on Billboard's U.S. Best Sellers in Stores chart from 29 April to 8 July.[3] The exposure made Karas an international star,[4] and the trailer for the film stated that "the famous musical score by Anton Karas" would have the audience "in a dither with his zither".[5]

> Australian-born singer Shirley Abicair popularised the zither when she used it widely as accompaniment in her TV shows, live performances and recordings in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. American Ruth Welcome released a number of very popular theme-based zither albums between 1958 - 1965 (e.g., "Romantic Zither"; "Zither South of the Border"; "Zither Goes to Hollywood"; etc.) Zither music is also the preferred music of Mr. Bevis, a Twilight Zone character in 1960.

The article also has some "tuning charts" that may be helpful.

I remember when the "Third Man Theme" revived interest in the instrument, and knew several people who rushed to buy one - but don't believe I ever knew anyone who learned to play well enough to let their passions be known in public once the novelty wore off. This may account for the fairly frequent appearances of the instrument in flea markets at at yard sales ... (?).

Not known as a "simple" instrument to play, but probably not really a lot harder (technically) than a guitar, it's likely to be a little harder to find others with whom to play so that the "inspiration" has a lasting life.

Some of the "brand new" instruments seen in the 50s carried hundred year old patent labels even though they were obviously made by companies created for the then current fad, so provenance of a "found instrument" might be difficult - but of course it makes little difference how old the instrument is if the player can make music with it.

John


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