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.

Hans Lanner - A Biography

Hans lanner was born in 1873 in Reichenau an der Rax in the province of Lower Austria as the son of a woodworker. His place of birth and later residence was the "Scheiterplatz" in close vicinity of the famous hotel Thalhof, which was frequented by the leading personalities of the arts and sciences. Lanner's father was already much sought after as companion and for the excursions of the vacationers into the surrounding area.


Thirty-First Sterling Zither Seminar

Zither players from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey convened once again for the 31st 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.


Visiting the Homeland of Schwarzer Zithers

Any zither player visiting Missouri - or indeed the United States - since 1870 would be drawn to the little town of Washington on the banks of the mighty Missouri, where Franz Schwarzer immigrated from Austria and became the first and greatest of American zither makers. When family matters took me from Virginia, near Washington DC, to St.Louis in mid-November 1993, I could at last follow in the steps of those who have gone before.


A Visit To Horst Wünsche Zitherbau KG

In Europe, the art and science of musical instrument making is a tradition that spans centuries. In particular, instrument making in Markneukirchen, Germany, has been traced to the early 1600s. In this article, zitherist William Kolb explores the musical foundations of Markneukirchen and visits a workshop where the tradition of instrument making is kept alive and well by Steffen and Frank Meinel, the Master Zither makers at Horst Wunsche Zitherbau KG.


Hans Waskoenig - A Life with the Zither

From playing carols as a child during Christmas, to his studies and his work abroad as an engineer in South Africa, the zither has accompanied Hans Waskoenig on his journey through life every step of the way. Now retired, Hans has found new inspiration through his music, working to better the lives of children in South Africa.




A Visit To Lenzner String Manufacturers

Zitherist William Kolb has often wondered, as many players of stringed instruments surely have, what's behind the strings which eventually find their way to his zither. On a recent trip to Germany, his long standing questions were answered. It was here, in Erlbach, Germany, that he was provided with an opportunity to witness the string manufacturing process first hand by paying a visit to the skilled craftsmen at Lenzner string manufacturers.


The Zithers of Anton Karas

Anton Karas, through his music in the film 'The Third Man', propelled the zither to new heights of popularity around the world. In this article, Dr. Günter Wittenstein details the life and zithers of Anton Karas, whose zither music carried the mood and so brilliantly accented the plot of The Third Man movie.




The Third Man Museum

Gerhard Strassgschwandtner works as a guide in Vienna, Austria and collects all kind of objects related to the movie The Third Man, which was shot in the postwar ruins of Vienna in 1948. Passion meets profession when Gerhard decides to create a museum out of his extensive collection. On September 15, 2005 the Third Man Museum is officially opened by the British Ambassador and the Vienna City Councilor for Culture.


Solo Interpretations of Bavarian Folk Music

The zither, with its full range of tones, is perfectly suited for solo interpretations of folk music. Folk music, with its close ties to folk dances and folk songs, is an expression of the regional identities from which it has evolved. In this article, zitherist Uwe Schmid provides an excellent survey of traditional Bavarian folk music.

How to Tune a Zither

In the early days of the zither, variations on how to tune the zither abounded. However, over time, two predominant methods of tuning the zither emerged. These two tuning methods are known as Munich and Viennese tuning. This article will walk you through the steps required to tune your zither to what is commonly referred to as "Munich tuning". If you've never tuned a zither before, tuning the strings that lay before you may seem like a daunting task. Don't be deterred.



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