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The Concert Zither in America by Alissa Pesavento

Alissa Pesavento's masters thesis is regarded as one of the best resources on the Alpine zither in America. Her thesis includes drawings, information from historical archives, details covering the evolution of the zither from the German scheitholt and its relationship to America's appalachian dulcimer. The cost, which includes shipping via priority mail, is $42 to the US and Canada and $45 shipping to Europe and Japan. To order, send your payment with intent to purchase to the following address:

Alissa Pesavento
351 Bend Hill Road
Fredonia PA 16124

Die Zither in der Schweiz by Lorenz Mühlemann

Mr. Mühlemann provides a history of the zither in Switzerland. Both fretted and fretless zithers are discussed. Those unable to read German will still appreciate the many photographs of the zither provided in this text.

The Zitherplayer

Published in the US, The Zitherplayer is a journal dedicated to the interest of zither playing. With each issue, The Zitherplayer will provide music, articles and additional information of interest to the zither community, free of charge. Contact for more information.


Saitenspiel is the premier resource for players of the zither available today. Saitenspiel is a German periodical which is published on a bi-monthly basis.

A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers by L. Allen Smith

For those interested in the history and evolution of the zither, L. Allen Smith's catalogue provides numerous images of Appalachian dulcimers and early Pennsylvania German zithers, also known as scheitholts. Researchers have theorized that the Appalachian dulcimer evolved from scheitholts brought to the US by German Immigrants. Many of the Pennsylvania German zithers provided in this text are also on display in the Bucks County Historical Society Mercer Museum located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Franz Schwarzer - Missouri Zither Maker by Thomas M. Davis and Franz R. Beinke

First published in the Missouri Historical Review in 1965, this article details the life of legendary zither maker Franz Schwarzer. An immigrant from Austria, Franz Schwarzer earned a living as a furniture maker and building contractor. However, after winning top honors - The Gold Medal of Progress - at the International Exhibition at Vienna in 1873, Schwarzer shifted his entire focus to the manufacture of German zithers. Over time his factory, located in Washington Missouri, would go on to produce thousands of zithers for a worldwide market. To request a copy of this article, contact the Washington Historical Society for more information.

Adam Darr Biography - The Career and Works of a German Romantic Guitarist and Zitherist
by Dr. Joseph Costello

Adam Darr was an accomplished Guitar and Zither virtuoso, His Zitherschule was well received in Europe and would go on to be translated and published in three languages, English, French and German, by the P. Ed. Hoenes publishing company. Through extensive research and travels, Dr. Costello has helped to illustrate the life of this gifted, but tragic, artist. For more information on Adam Darr and Dr. Costello's publication, refer to Dr. Costello's home page at Sibelius Music.

The Zithers of the Pennsylvania Germans by Dr. Henry Mercer

The scheitholt, whose form is the predecessor to the modern Alpine zither, was constructed and played in the US by early German immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1923, Dr. Henry Mercer presented his research of numerous zithers, then museum pieces, to members of the Bucks Country Historical Society. This article is archived and is available by request from the Bucks County Historical Society Mercer Museum, located in Doylestown, PA.

Dulcimer Players News - Summer 2006 Issue

Those interested in the history of the scheitholt will be very interested in Ralph Lee Smith's article in the Summer 2006 issue of Dulcimer Players News. In this article, Mr. Smith provides details on a scheitholt which had recently been purchased on eBay. The scheitholt described, which has been well preserved and beautifully constructed, includes the musician's repertory inscribed within the wooden case of the instrument. The scheitlholt also includes the luthier and manufacture date which reads "Samuel Shank Maker in December 1861".

Zitherspiel in Wien. 1800-1850 by Dr. Joan Marie Bloderer

Zitherspiel in Wien. 1800-1850 provides insight into the lives of early zither personalities, tunings of the zither and samplings of printed zither music. The reader will certainly glean new information from the significant number of never before published illustrations included with this text. For those interested in continuing their research, an extensive bibliography is also provided. For more information visit the publisher's web site at Schneider-Musikbuch.

If you are aware of additional publications that are specific to the Alpine zither and not provided here, please contact us.