Friday, June 22, 2018


Tomy Temerson,  a musician with his own Wikipedia page and one of the best concert level players in the world, was brought on board to perform a concert for us on the oldest folk music instrument of the German speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany:  the zither.

The zither is very difficult to play.  You must play the melody and the accompaniment at the same time.  Just like with the harp, piano, organ and guitar.

Playing the zither is like playing three guitars at once:  melody, bass and rhythm.
The musician must play three different rhythms at once with only two hands.

There are 42 strings in total:  5 melody and 37 accompaniment, on a concert zither.

To play it well, the player must develop a full set of thick calluses on both hands.  The calluses allow the player to get between the strings to pluck them or hold the melody strings down when playing the instrument.  Without calluses this is quite painful.

To tune the instrument by ear takes 45 minutes.
And since the zither is very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, it must be tuned every time it is played.

Listening to a zither concert is like listening to three classical guitarists play perfectly together.  However, only one very skilled musician is playing all the guitars.  Bravo!

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