- any of a family of musical instruments with strings stretched across a flat soundboard and plucked, bowed, struck with mallets, etc., as the dulcimer, koto, psaltery, etc.
- a folk instrument of this type of Austria and S Germany
Origin of zitherGerman ; from Classical Latin cithara ; from Classical Greek kithara, lute
A musical instrument composed of a flat sound box with about 30 to 40 strings stretched over it and played horizontally with the fingertips, a plectrum, or a bow, or set into vibration by the wind, as in the Aeolian harp.
Origin of zitherGerman, from Middle High German *zitter, from Old High German zitera, from Latin cithara, cithara, from Greek kithara.
- A musical instrument consisting of a flat sounding box with numerous strings, placed on a horizontal surface, and played with a plectrum and fingertips; similar to a dulcimer. In the Norwegian harpeleik and Swedish cittra versions, the instrument is considered a chorded zither and usually has 7 (Norwegian) to 9 (Swedish) chords, some with as many as 11 strings each, which are mostly strummed and damped as chords, although sometimes plucked. The Norwegian harpeleik and Swedish cittra are still in production by a German manufacturer.