Psalteries and Zithers

  • Andres Peekna
  • Thomas D. Rossing


The terms psaltery and zither are somewhat interchangeable. Both denote string instruments with strings that span the length of the sound box and sound board. From a musicological classification viewpoint, psalteries belong in the zither family of instruments, which also includes Appalachian dulcimers, autoharps, and hammered dulcimers.


Mode Shape Sound Quality Beryllium Copper String Instrument Helmholtz Resonance 
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We would like to thank Ain Haas (Indianapolis, IN, USA), Andrejs Jansons (Leonia, NJ, USA). and Ieva Sijats Johnson (Zionsville, IN, USA) for loaning their instruments for this study as well as other comments and contributions. We thank the evolutionary biologist who also makes and plays his own instruments (guslis), Ilya Tëmkin (New York, NY, USA), for sharing his latest papers with us, plus significant contributions on especially the early history, including string materials. We also thank Henri Penttinen (Helsinki, Finland) for stimulating comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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