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Tech: Zither or Autoharp

banjoman 16 Feb 12 - 06:26 AM
Bernard 16 Feb 12 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Feb 12 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,redhorse at work 16 Feb 12 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Chubby Cheeker 16 Feb 12 - 08:42 AM
wysiwyg 16 Feb 12 - 10:38 AM
Susan of DT 16 Feb 12 - 11:07 AM
Bill D 16 Feb 12 - 11:52 AM
Leadfingers 17 Feb 12 - 05:40 AM
banjoman 17 Feb 12 - 06:20 AM
Splott Man 17 Feb 12 - 11:01 AM
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Subject: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: banjoman
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 06:26 AM

Did anyone else watch Pointless on BBC 1 last night (16th Feb)?
Contestants were asked at one point to identify various musical instruments. One of the pictures was definitely of an Autoharp which both sets of contestants identified wrongly as either a Harpsichord or an Accordion. Th presenters then both said it was a Zither. Am I missing something or is the name Autoharp not accepted as a musical instrument?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: Bernard
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 06:49 AM

Apparently the Autoharp is not really a type of Zither, even though it is a popularly held belief.

I've just forgotten for the moment where I read it, but the person who wrote the article said that an Autoharp is as much a zither as a cow is a horse!! Both animals have four legs and eat grass, but the link is at best, tenuous!

The inventor is also disputed... the instrument invented by Zimmermann was not an autoharp and he didn't produce it, the instrument he did produce had already been invented by Gütter (see here)

We have to accept, I think, that an autoharp is rather specialised... if you know what it is, fine, if not, you've really no way of guessing! TV presenters and their researchers always get it right, don't they?!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 07:10 AM

Apparently the Autoharp is not really a type of Zither, even though it is a popularly held belief.

According to the standard categorisation of string instruments there are 4 basic morphologies of chordophone: Lyre, Harp, Lute and Zither. Confusingly, an Autoharp is not a harp, but it is, in fact, a Zither - i.e. an instrument without neck whose strings run the full length of the body. Other zithers include hammer & Appalachian dulcimers, concert zithers, chord-harps, kotos, and kanuns. The Lute category is just as diverse - including proper lutes, guitars, and violins.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: GUEST,redhorse at work
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 08:14 AM

"According to the standard categorisation of string instruments there are 4 basic morphologies of chordophone: Lyre, Harp, Lute and Zither"

So an Autoharp is a Zither, and a Gibson Flying Vee is a Lute!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: GUEST,Chubby Cheeker
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 08:42 AM

Yeah, and a real USA made Flying Vee costs one hell of a lot of lute !!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 10:38 AM

Good thing it wasn't a Dolceola!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: Susan of DT
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 11:07 AM

I think the term "autoharp" is trademarked to the Oscar Schmidt company, so its extremely close relatives bear other names.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 11:52 AM

Various erms are used.... including 'chorded zither'.
In our house, we have 5 genuine 'autoharps', 2 not made by Schmidt, and one genuine zither.

In practice, the name autoharp is used in common parlance for most chorded zither-type instruments with buttons, even though makers have to 'officially' call them something else.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 05:40 AM

And a Melodeon is a Diatonic Button Accordian isnt it ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: banjoman
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 06:20 AM

Thanks all. I have one more question - what would have been the response if one of the contestants had said Autoharp?
Would it have been deemed an incorrect answer?
The BBC have not replied to my post


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zither or Autoharp
From: Splott Man
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 11:01 AM

If the contestant had known it was an autoharp, then I think there may have been an interesting discussion on the programme.


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