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Yenjing  

Jeremy Montagu

Article

Clifford McCarty

(b Chicago, IL, 8 Aug 1900; d Palm Springs, CA, 10 Nov 1956). Composer, conductor, and violinist. He began to play the violin at the age of six and four years later went to live with his grandfather in Warsaw, where he studied at the conservatory. He made his debut as a soloist with the Warsaw PO in 1917. In 1920 he returned to the United States and the following year made his American debut at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Between 1922 and 1929 he was a leader in movie theaters, a musical supervisor of vaudeville productions, a violinist and arranger for Ted Fiorito's orchestra, and the assistant musical director of the Balaban and Katz theater chain.

He first worked for radio in 1929 and in 1931 became music director for Brunswick Records, where in 1932 he arranged and conducted several selections from Show Boat with soloists, chorus, and orchestra; released on four discs, it was the first American album made from the score of a Broadway musical. In ...

Article

Yueqin  

Alan R. Thrasher

Short-necked lute of the Han Chinese. Literally ‘moon qin’, the name is often popularly translated as ‘moon lute’. The yueqin is constructed of a short fingerboard inserted into a large circular resonating chamber (about 60 cm in total length). Distinguishing features include four long tuning pegs inserted laterally into the pegbox, soundboards of softwood (commonly wutong) covering the top and bottom of the resonating chamber, and between eight and 12 bamboo frets glued to the neck and upper part of the soundboard. On traditional lutes, four silk strings are grouped in two double courses and tuned a 5th apart.

The yueqin is historically related to several Han Chinese lutes, especially the qinqin, shuangqing and ruan. The qinqin (‘Qin [kingdom] qin’) has a long fretted neck, often only two or three strings (pitched about one octave lower than the yueqin) and a scalloped or ‘plum blossom’ shaped resonating chamber (about 90 cm in total length). The ...

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Article

Mauricio Molina

Article

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Ferdinand J. de Hen

[zenze, nzenze, nsense, nzensi, dzendze, lunzenze, nzeze, luzenzu, dizeze, sese, lusese]

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 ...

Article

Zheng  

Han Mei

A plucked half-tube zither with movable bridges, one of the principal Chinese zithers, the others being the Qin and the ancient se ( see China, People’s Republic of ). Discussed here are construction, early history, tuning and notation; for living traditions and repertories, see China, People’s Republic of .

The zheng consists of a soundbox with adjustable bridges over which a number of strings are stretched. The size of the zheng ranges from 120 to 170 cm long and 20 to 35 cm wide, depending on the number of strings. The soundboard is made of wutong wood (Firmiana platanifolia), the bottom being flat and the upper board convex. The wood used for the sides and bottom is traditionally hardwood: red sandalwood, rosewood or sometimes boxwood. The bridges, used for fine tuning, are usually made of wood, occasionally of ivory or bone. The strings are secured on pins at one end of the instrument, stretched over individual bridges, and wound around tuning pegs at the other end. While silk strings were traditionally used, today they are most commonly of steel wound with nylon. The bridges divide the strings into two sections, the portion to the right delineating the open-string tuning mode and the plucking area, that to the left the area where ornamentations and pitch modifications may be made....

Article

Zither  

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 Scheitholt type of instrument (see §§2 and 3 below), which had no neck and frets placed directly on the box. From the Scheitholt evolved the modern Alpine instrument still known as the zither (Fr. cithare; Ger. Zither; It. cetra da tavola); other types of fretted zither are found elsewhere in Europe.

Mark Lindley

According to the classification system of Hornbostel and Sachs (...

Article

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 Autoharp , patented in the United States in 1882 by the German immigrant Charles F. Zimmermann, but built upon the better mechanical design of a different Volkszither patent by Karl August Gütter of Markneukirchen, Germany in 1883 or 1884. Its strings are strummed by one hand while the other hand operates a series of damper bars, which mute notes not of the desired chords. It was followed by the guitar-zither patented in the United States in 1894 by Friederich Menzenhauer (1858–1937). Its 15 diatonic melody strings are accompanied by four groups of four open strings, each group sounding a chord (tonic, 3rd, 5th, sometimes dominant 7th or octave). Variant types were produced in great numbers by several dozen manufacturers, from the late 1890s onward. Some of these (e.g. the marxophone) include mechanical attachments that strike or pluck the strings. The ukelin and related types have bowed melody strings. Others have only melody strings or strings configured into chord groups, sometimes with a melody playable from the chords. The most prominent American manufacturers were Menzenhauer (later Menzenhauer & Schmidt and Oscar Schmidt, Jersey City, New Jersey), The Phonoharp Co. (Boston), and H.C. Marx/Marxochime Colony (New Troy, Michigan). Inexpensive fretless zithers were mass-produced and intended for amateurs or nonmusicians. Often, a decal with staff notation or names of the strings was affixed to the soundboard, beneath the strings. Paper song sheets, with notation or diagrams of notes to be played, could be placed under the strings as a guide. Thousands of pieces were published for these “numerical instruments” from their first appearance to about ...

Article

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.

The zither was widely introduced to the American public by Joseph Hauser of the Hauser Family, a group of Tyrolean singers, in the late 1840s. Numerous songs performed by the family were published by Oliver Ditson in Boston. Sheet music selections published by the company feature a lithograph of the performers, with Joseph Hauser holding a zither....

Article

Pavla Jonssonová

(‘Tooth and Nail’)

Czech rock group. Formed by university students in Prague in 1980 as Plyn (‘Gas’), with Marka Horáková (Míková; b 1959; piano, bass, vocals), Pavla Fediuková (Slabá, Jonssonová; b 1961; guitar, vocals), and Hana Kubíčková (Řepová; b 1961; drums, vocals). All of the members contributed songs in a punk, girl-band, dadaist fashion, playing college clubs and alternative music festivals. After Plyn was blacklisted, they re-formed under a new name as Dybbuk, and were joined by Kateřina Nejepsová (Jirčíková; b 1963) on the flute and saxophone, and Eva Trnková (b 1963) on the lead guitar. Their eponymous EP (Panton, 1987) was released during the communist era. Dybbuk disbanded in 1987.

In 1988 Míková started Zuby nehty with Slabá on the bass, Naďa Bilincová (1959−2011) on the guitar, and Tomáš Míka (b 1960) on the saxophone. In 1991 Dybbuk reunited to record their 1980s material on the album ...