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Michael Talbot


See Vivaldi, Antonio



Jeremy Montagu

Dulcimer of the Uyghur people of Central Asia. It is similar to the Chinese yangqin, and since that instrument is thought to have derived from the Persian sanṭūr, possibly transmitted via Uyghur areas, the yenjing might have been the origin of the yangkin.

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Single-string harp of the Fang people of Gabon. It is played exclusively by women.


Mauricio Molina

Hurdy-gurdy of Spain, formerly used for example in Pontevedra province, Galicia. Certain types were used to accompany the singing of romances. In Catalonia the instrument is known as viola de roda and in parts of Castille as gaita de pobre.


K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

Stick zither widely distributed throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The stick is a solid bar of wood 55 to 65 cm long and 2 to 3 cm wide throughout most of its length. Both ends of the bar terminate in a small knob to which the strings, of plant fibre, are attached. Three cylindrical ‘frets’ protrude on both sides of the stick. The U-shaped bridge is usually made of a feather quill. One or more drone strings pass beside the frets. A resonator made of two superposed calabash halves, or seldom a single half-calabash shell, is attached near one end; it is affixed to the underside of the bar by means of a small part-calabash collar and a cord. The zither produces four notes (open string and one note from each of the three frets) together with the drone(s). Accounts of the method of performance vary. Among the Shi the zither is held to the left so that the frets can be stopped with the fingers of the left hand while the thumb activates the drone string and the fingers of the right hand stroke the melody string. The half-calabash is usually placed on the player‘s chest and opened or closed in the same way as the resonator of a ...



Mark Lindley, Andreas Michel and Alan R. Thrasher

A term having two main senses in modern organology. The first denotes (in both English and German) a large category of string instruments also known as ‘simple chordophone’ (defined in §1 below); the second, more limited and perhaps more familiar sense refers to a small group of Alpine folk and popular instruments. From the late 15th century the term ‘zither’ was used exclusively to denote chordophones with necks, of the cittern type. It was only from the early 19th century that the name began to be used for descendants of the north European ...


Gregg Miner

Musical instrument. Generic term for an American or European zither that has only nonfretted (open) strings, as opposed to a concert or “Alpine” zither, which utilizes a fretted fingerboard. (See also Zither, fretted .) Fretless zithers were commercially developed and widely distributed in many forms beginning in the late 19th century, especially in the United States. The earliest such invention is the ...


David J. Kyger

Musical string instrument. The fretted zither is a resonating body with strings extending across the width of the instrument. A modern zither has five fretboard strings and up to 37 open strings. It is placed on a flat surface with the player seated behind the instrument. Frets are set into the fretboard, indicating where the fingers of the left hand need to stop the strings in order to play melodies. A ring with a projecting thorn is placed on the tip of the right-hand thumb to strike the fretboard strings, while the remaining fingers act upon the open strings for the accompaniment....