January 12, 2011

Z is for Zither

A zither is any stringed musical instrument whose strings are the same length as its soundboard. There are many styles of zithers. Typically it is composed of a flat sound box with 30 to 40 strings stretched over it and played horizontally with the fingertips, a plectrum, or a bow.

The yatga is a traditional Mongolian plucked half-tube zither and can have 10-21 strings with movable bridges. When I was in Ulaanbaatar, I heard this woman play a 12-string yatga.


Ulaanbaatar, 2007

If you'd like to hear the sound, here is a 23-second video taken in the same small theatre you see in my photo. This tune sounds to me like a pleasant traditional folk song. For a more sophisticated sound, listen to this award-winning player on what looks to be a 21-string yatga.

This is my Z contribution to ABC Wednesday. Check out how others fared with this challenging letter.

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To my regular blogger friends, tomorrow I will slip behind the Great Firewall of China, so I may be unable to post or visit any blogs for the next 10-12 days. See you when I return!

31 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Great post for the Z Day, Francisca! Love the Zither and what interesting information! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

Sylvia

Roger Owen Green said...

yatga - great SCRABBLE word. never heard of a half-zither. Nice picture.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Nanka said...

It sounds so similar to the Indian Sitar...loved the sounds and beautiful pictures that accompanied.

photowannabe said...

The zither sounded quite lovely. Thanks for sharing the exotic sounds with us.
Enjoy your time in China. Looking forward to hearing all about it when you return.

richies said...

I learn something new every week on ABC Wednesday. I enjoyed the videos. I would love to hear a yatga being played in person.

An Arkies Musings

Rajesh said...

This instrument is very new to me.

Wanda said...

How clever ~~ I've heard of this but didn't enter my mind to use it for Z. Good job, and lovely pictures.

jabblog said...

I enjoyed both the clips. The prize-winner was justly rewarded. What skill!

Kay L. Davies said...

I've used "zither" in Scrabble, but never "yatga" so I'll have to remember that one, Francisca.
I played both videos and I think I like the first one best.
What a wonderful post for the letter Z.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

EG Wow said...

I enjoyed listening to both players but I found the Yatga player the most amazing! Incredible what different sounds and feeling she can coax out of her instrument!

VP said...

Wonderful, elegant and exotic!

Leslie: said...

Love the sound of a zither! Good one for today. Hope to see you in Round 8! :D

Dina said...

Nimble fingers. Beautiful sound.

Jacob said...

I always like zithers...when I was a kid I knew people who played them...but they were small ones.

Quite nice sounding instruments!

Does a zither get you in a dither?

tapirgal said...

You came up with a perfect Z. Gorgeous and interesting as always.

Gary said...

Interesting. And nice snaps!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Will you look at that beautiful lady jam on that thing??? :-)

Nice one, Francisca!

VioletSky said...

That is lovely sound (in small doses for me).

Have an enjoyable time in China

Kaori said...

It kind of looks like the Japanses Koto! The sound is lovely :-D

And Oh Wow! You're going to the great wall of China! That must be some experience...can't wait till you get back and tell us all about it! Safe travels, Fransisca :-)

T. Becque said...

These are lovely. It's beautiful to see the traditional dress too.

Evelyn said...

Have a good trip.

Anita Johnson said...

That was great to listen to...a new instrument for me! Beautiful. Havea safe trip!

Francisca said...

@Kaori, I'm not going to the Great Wall, I'm going behind the Great Firewall! :-D China blocks all blogs and social media sites! :-D

Greensboro Daily Photo said...

Z from Mongolia. This photo and the sound clips are so informative, cultural, enjoyable. My favorite kind of post, one that is situated in a city or country.

Z is turning out to be a GREAT week!

Misfit in Paradise said...

Thanks for the photo and the sound clip. Have a great visit to China.
Donna

fredamans said...

Beautiful clothing and instrument. Such colorful photos!!

http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2011/01/abc-wednesday-z-is-for.html

JM said...

Awesome portraits, Francisca!

James said...

I've heard of Zithers but I don't think I heard one played. Excellent choice and great shots!

greg urbano said...

crazy amount of letters in some of those words!

Kaori said...

Oh my goodness, Fransisca! I just read your comment! haha. I can't stop laughing ;D

Hope you're having a wonderful trip, with or without the internet!

London Caller said...

Very interesting!
This yatga looks very similar to Chinese guzheng!