From: Siegfried Knoepfler

Date: 24 Jun 2011 12:45:10 MEST

To: cyberpluckers

Re: Harpeleik (was: some music to perk things up)


Good morning, Cyberpluckers!


I'd like to use Ann's post as an opportunity to rehash an old topic: chord zithers.


There are two main types of these critters:


 1.) consisting of a chords section (left half) and a melody section (right half)


 2.) consisting only of the chords section



Let's deal first with the *second* type, which is most commonly known as HARPELEIK. (In the US, this type of instruments is also known as "regent zithers": - scroll down for pictures.)


This is probably the instrument Ann refers to in her posting (see below). The band Klarskinn (shown in the video) seems to employ harpeleiks of different sizes: a smaller size is shown in the picture

while the much bigger specimen, partly visible in the video, can be watched here:

and the tuning of it:


The solo playing of a medium sized harpeleik is shown in this video: --

while the playing of a monster harpeleik, a special construction by the artist himself, Ekim Beau (well known also in autoharp circles), can be marvelled at here:


There are probably other manufacturers, too; the one I know of is a German company:




And now for the *first* type.


Lots of pictures of this type of chord zithers can be studied here: - they all show the division in two parts, the left one with strings grouped for chords, the right one with a strings layout similar to an autoharp.


On the Fretless Zithers site, this instrument type is called "chord-zithers", but we actually face here a serious nomenclature problem!

 - in the US, these instruments used to be also called "guitar-zithers", cf.


 - in Switzerland and Bavaria, where this instrument has a huge devoted following, it is called "Akkordzither" (literally: chord zither)

   (as can also be seen from the offering of the German manufacturer known to me:


Now some of you may remember that Nadine White reported recently again about her finding that early German-made autoharps were *also* called Akkordzither. (This confusion led some time ago an unsuspecting individual at the sight of so many German-language Web sites on the Akkordzither to the - alas! - illusionary notion of a yet to discover secret Alpine autoharp community!)


And I wonder what type of instrument is designated by the Swedish "ackordcittra" that Ann mentions in her post.


If you like to test your German, here are a few Web sites about zithers generally and the Akkordzither particularly:

 - from Switzerland: (a thorough explanation and a playing demonstration by a guy who also loves to strum an autoharp to his singing!)

(and re autoharps:, !)

 - from Germany:



That may suffice for today!





    Ziggy in Cologne, Germany



Ann's post:


Thanks - two of my favorite instruments! I love this music!


So, for RAR, I thought there must be a Swedish zither, and found the Swedish

ackordcittra (chorded zither), but haven't found much information yet.

Here's a video of one played in a band; unfortunately, full view of the

ackordcittra is blocked by something.


 - Ann


On Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 1:25 PM, ELAINE ALMQUIST wrote:


> I sent this to Ron Bean who said things were slow on the list. Here's some

> Swedish music sent to me from fellow plucker Judy Ganser's NON-RAR

> yet

> consists of drone (a favorite topic of some) and pipes (another favorite of

> some) Interesting combination and great music. Ya can't sit still with this

> Instruments are sackpipa and nykelharpa, enjoy the music:


> Elaine in sometimes sunny, sometimes not, coastal Oregon





Ann McChesney-Young

Berkeley, CA