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A picture of a zither.

A zither is a stringed musical instrument. The word 'Zither' is a German rendering of the Greek word cithara, from which the modern word "guitar" also derives. Historically, it has been applied to any instrument of the cittern family, or an instrument consisting of many strings stretched across a thin, flat body – similar to a psaltery. This article describes the second variety.

Zithers are played by strumming or plucking the strings, either with the fingers (sometimes using an accessory called a plectrum or pick), sounding the strings with a bow, or, with varieties of the instrument like the santur or cimbalom, by beating the strings with specially shaped hammers. Like a guitaror lute, a zither's body serves as a resonating chamber (sound box), but, unlike guitars and lutes, a zither lacks a distinctly separate neck assembly. The number of strings varies, from one to more than fifty.  view more...



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