Friday, April 8, 2011

Music: Making a Zither

This week we have been working on slowly reading The Story of the Incredible Orchestra by Bruce Koscielniak which is an amazing nonfiction book of the history of the orchestra. We read the page on early musical instruments and came across a zither. I was unfamiliar with a zither, so we went on you tube and found some videos of people playing zithers.  We really enjoyed the relaxing music that large zithers produce (found in the korean video). It is a bit rustic sounding but still really pretty. It reminds me a bit of a harp.  A small zither reminds me more of a banjo (found in the Austrian and German videos). Some of our favorite zither music is listed below:
We also decided to make a zither. Our zither only ended up with 12 strings because I wanted enough room for Little BBQ to easily strum his zither.
A shallow card board box (I used a box for canning jars)
Scissors (they need to be sharp enough to cut through the card board box)
12-40 pieces of string long enough to drape across the box

Stuff to decorate the zither (we used patches of cloth and glue)


1.       Cut two parallel sides of the card board box at the crease.
2.       Gently move the sides inward about 1 inch to make a trapezoid. Fold the back end up towards the inward folding sides. Tape the trapezoid together.
3.       Trim the back end of the box to be the same height as the sides.
4.       Tape string across the zither from one inward folded side to the other inward folded side.
5.       Trim the excess string.
6.       Decorate your zither.

Shibley Smiles


  1. That looks like a fun project and instrument! Does it matter what kind of string you use? I would even think rubber bands might work nicely...

    Thanks so much for sharing this at my For the Kids Friday Link Party! I appreciate you stopping by. I will be posting this week's link party shortly. I'd love to see what you have to share this week!

    Hope to see you soon!
    :)rachel @

  2. I used yarn, but I think rubber bands would work great. Basically you want something that you can pull tight enough to evoke a sound when strummed.


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