08 Oct Zither
Zither – stringed plucked instrument in the form of a flat, slightly curved in front resonant box with a round cut in the middle. On its fingerboard with metal straps 5 metal strings are stretched to perform the melody with the help of a plectrum that is worn on the right thumb. From 24 to 40 silk strings loosely stretched over the top deck are used to perform the accompaniment. The notes for the zither are recorded in the treble and bass clefs on two staffs. The instrument has a clear and pleasant, but monotonous, timbre homogeneous sound.
The name “zither” is taken from the name of an ancient Greek instrument – cithara.
This ancient musical instrument is now a rarity in Ukraine. The fact is that the Bolsheviks declared the zither a nationalist instrument and began to destroy it…. In the mid-XIX century this instrument was very popular. Inexpensive and portable zither replaced piano for Ukrainians with average prosperity. Often this kind of musical instrument could be found in the families of teachers and priests. But with the advent of Soviet power everything changed. After all, the first version of the Ukrainian anthem was written to perform exactly with this musical instrument! So the zither was forgotten.
In the Museum – apartment of M. Leontovych this musical instrument is of particular importance. M. Leontovych’s family moves to the village Bilousivka -1, where his father received a parish. M. Leontovych was fond of the sound of folk songs, which were often played on the streets of the village. Looking at his son’s passion for music, Dmytro Feofanovych having a talent for music bought Mykola a zither as a gift for Christmas holidays. Their manor was great. In the far corner of the orchard was a summer house, which for some reason was called the «academy» in the family. M. Leontovych often stayed alone in the «academy» and on the zither he picked up tunes to the songs he heard on the streets of the village. No one knew that the composer’s first musical works were born here, and his zither was a witness of this. According to the memories of the composer’s sister, these were the best times of the family with material wealth and a fun life. In Bilousivka Mykola recorded from many villagers many songs that later came into his «Second Compilation of Songs from Podillia».