Welcome to Zither US

Here you will find information pertaining to the concert zither, an instrument with Alpine origins commonly associated with the German-speaking lands of Europe. The concert zither has an incredibly rich history here in the US. By providing a venue to share its history and music, it's hoped that interest will be renewed and new players will be encouraged to take up this wonderful instrument.

To grow as a resource, Zither US is seeking your contributions. Did you have an ancestor who played the concert zither? Do you play, or have you attended a recent performance? If so, consider sharing your experiences and knowledge with the community. For more information on how to become a contributor, contact us.

For the enjoyment of the zither community, hundreds of vintage zither arrangements and compositions have been digitized and published. Visit the page of the Vintage Zither Music Project to browse the current collection.

Alpenklaenge Sheet Music

In 1942, zither players in Wisconsin came together to form the Milwaukee Zither Club "Alpenklaenge." For over half a century, the "Alpenkalenge" entertained appreciative audiences with popular favorites by Freundorfer, Wormsbacher, Reiter and many others. The following sheet music selections, kindly provided by Rudolf Mueller, are posted here to be shared and enjoyed by the zither community.



The Milwaukee Zither Club "Alpenklaenge", circa 1948

Thirty-Fifth Sterling Zither Seminar

Zither players from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey convened once again for the 35th Sterling Zither Seminar. Jane Curtis, whose report follows, served as host for the event and led the zither enthusiasts through a well-structured seminar program, which spanned two days. The seminar was held at the Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, VA.


Sound and Acoustics of the Zither

The art and science of instrument making involves many factors, each of which, when taken as a whole, will ultimately define an instrument's sound and playability. In this article, Franz Berwein explores the physics of sound as it applies to the zither. Originally published in German, this translation has been kindly provided by Jane Curtis.



The Zither in Washington, DC

Located in historic Hockemeyer Hall, the German-American Heritage Museum of the USA has recently opened their doors to the public. As a “Danke schön” to the many benefactors that made this museum possible, a gala event was recently held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. Dr. William Kolb, author of the following article, provided the evening's entertainment with a collection of music played on his Wünsche zither.




The Early Zither Makers of Mittenwald

In the mid-1800s, a number of luthiers emerged that set new, higher standards for the zither. With this continued refinement, the zither began to play a more important role as new players, teachers and clubs began to emerge. In this article, Dr. Joan Marie Bloderer provides a biographical sketch of three early zither makers from Mittenwald, whose efforts led to significant improvements and worldwide recognition of this instrument.



San Antonio Zither Club

This photo of the San Antonio Zither Club (1892) comes to us courtesy of the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. It is likely that the concert zither and its predecessors, such as the scheitholt, have been in the US since Germans landed on these shores. It wasn't until the 1870s, however, that zither clubs started to form, the first being the Detroit Zither Club (1877). Over the next several decades, zither clubs could be found in a significant number of major American cities.



DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, Ag2008.0005. ©

The Tyrolean Minstrel

An illustrated periodical, published in the middle of the 19th century in Boston, suggests that Tyrolean minstrels would occasionally travel to America, introducing onlookers to the melodies of their homeland. In the following article, published in Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, April 4, 1857, a glimpse of their musical activities is provided.





Zitherist Adolf Maurer

A native of Germany, Adolf Maurer was a significant representative of the zither here in the United States. After moving to the US, around 1880, he first served as a director for a zither orchestra in Washington, DC. Later on, he relocated to Chicago where he continued his work as a zither instructor and promoter. The following article, published in the November, 1902 issue of The Cadenza, recalls his life and work.


Thirty-Fourth Sterling Zither Seminar

Zither players from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania convened once again for the 34th Sterling Zither Seminar. Jane Curtis, whose report follows, served as host for the event and led the zither enthusiasts through a well-structured seminar program, which spanned two days. The seminar was held at the Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, VA.


Zither Societies in America

In Handbuch der Zither, Dr. Josef Brandlmeier provides a brief account of the zither in the US, beginning with the formation of the first zither club in Detroit in 1877. Zither newsletters, additional clubs and personalities emerged shortly thereafter. This translation from the original German text has been kindly provided by Dr. Jane Curtis.


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