oxford views updated May 14 2018
zith·er / ˈzi[voicedth]ər; ˈzi[unvoicedth]-/ • n. a musical instrument consisting of a flat wooden sound box with numerous strings stretched across it, placed horizontally and played with the fingers and a plectrum. It is used esp. in central European folk music.DERIVATIVES: zith·er·ist / -ərist/ n.
oxford views updated May 29 2018
Folk instr., descendant of medieval psaltery, prevalent in Austrian Tyrol and Bavaria
. Consists of flat wooden soundbox over which are stretched 4 or 5 melody str. and up to 37 acc. str. Melody str., nearest to player, are stopped on fretted fingerboard with fingers of left hand and plucked by plectrum on right thumb. Acc. str. are plucked by fingers of either hand. Used for ‘local colour’ in operetta scores. Gained great popularity in Eng. after World War II
when film The Third Man
had as theme mus. a zither tune written and played by Anton Karas.
oxford views updated May 09 2018
Stringed instrument. It consists of a resonator in the form of a wooden box with 30 to 45 strings stretched over it. A few of the strings are stretched over a fretted board for melody; the rest are used for accompaniment. The melody strings are plucked with the fingers or a plectrum.