Gáts Tibor

citerakészítő, a népművészet mestere

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
The Zither

The Zither

E-mail Print PDF


The zither (citera in Hungarian) was a very popular instrument in Hungary around the turn of the century and in the second half of the 19th century as well. Its exact origin is unknown but is form and structure is similar to those of the old Austrian and German zithers. The French Épinette des Vosges, the Norwegian Langleik, and the Swedish Hummels also come from the same family. The Hungarian version is very diversified in its form and size, but the tuning, basic features and manner of playing are very similar.

The old zithers are diatonic, the new ones are chromatic. (The chromatic scale system is very characteristic.) The whole tones and half tones are lined up separately.

beosztás 1
Prim zither
beosztás 2
Tenor (normal) zither
beosztás 3
Midle (E-A) zither

The zither generally plays the same melody that is usually sung by the singers. Today the strings of the zither are tuned to G and C (or to A and D). The melody strings are tuned to G and the accompanying or background strings are tuned to G and C an octave apart. Today the zither is again an extremely popular instrument in Hungary.