top of page

THE zither concEPT

 Zither is the result of a research and development in several areas requiring highly specialised  scientific knowledge.

 The people I met during this long study passed on their know-how to me without restraint. It is therefore this synthesis and my intuition that I am presenting to you today.

 Dissociated instruments

 From my first study, the melodic part is separated from the harmonic part.

 I achieve great sonic precision for both instruments (harmonic zither and mélodic zither).

A played string produces a note, and all the harmonics that builds it.

But the vibration of this string will  communicate itself by sympathy to the other strings which have the same characteristics.

Too many parasitic harmonics are destroyed and altered in this way, so separating the two bodies of the instrument allows this sympathetic resonance to be limited.

The differentiation of the sound colour, what we call"timbre", of the two instruments is then made possible.

The same note in melodic zither and in harmonic zither will no longer have the same timbre.

 freedom of composition

 The variety of zither  models available means that they can be combined according to the musical repertoire being played.

An example of a combination:

  • a melodic chromatic zither, with a harmonic zither with perfect chords.

  • a pentatonic zither with a harmonic zither with fundamentals chords.

 Easy handling


By separating the two zithers, their handling is simplified and streamlined.

 New ergonomics

 My former job as an orthotist  prosthetist convinced me that in order for the hand to function with maximum dexterity, the intermediate joints such as the wrist, elbow and shoulder must be in a resting position.

When these are relieved of positional blockages, and the movement becomes natural, the hand considerably gains dexterity.

 the melodic zithers are made minding a position that "shifts toward" the musician, with an easy projection of the shoulder's quick rotation centre.

Thus the hand naturally runs through the middle string radius (as you can see in red on this sketch).

To relax your muscles,  you can increase the distance between the two instruments.

Most importantly is to play in a comfortable position.

 String layout

 The string layout is the entire string set  up that is stretched over the top soundboard of the zither. Each string has its own pure characteristics, calculated with the same high standards.

I develop homogeneous strings set up, stable in tuning, and yet with distinct harmonic and melodic timbre.

 New pitch

The ideal vibrating length for each string is the result of an accurate calculation.

I first set the two parameters that would  guarantee a stable instrument in tuning:

the same tension and the same stress for the whole strings set. Once these two parameters have been set, the calculated vibrating length is reproduced on the instrument, which then takes on its final shape.

The shape of the chromatic melodic zithers was born of the ergonomics described

above,  and the chosen strings set up pitch.

 Quality materials

 The materials used and chosen for my zithers are unique. I ring them with a mallet to check the best sound quality. The wood as a respective purpose to each part of the instrument. And so for the tailpiece, the frame and blocks, beech is excellent. For the bridge, maple. For the uprights and bracing, ash wood. For the top soundboard, bamboo or spruce.

how to chose your melodic zither's timbre

 DECAY timbre: a short sound where the action of the string provides a prompt attack and a rapid decrease of the sound.

 SUSTAIN timbre: a longer sound where the action of the string provides a sound with less attack, but a sound that has a longer resonance.


 how to read the chromatic melodic zithers

strings layout

 The central position of the body axis in relation to the two instruments (the parallax error), is balanced so that there is no unnecessary movement of the head.

A series of triangles visually locate the tampered notes.

The ideal fingers position on the strings layout is a little below the halfway point of the strings. The visual markers are there to locate the notes, not to play on them.

I have developed three systems of marking according to individual preferences.


Straight markers.

 The markers are aligned

Alternating markers.

 Groupings shifted horizontally.



"Rainbow-radius" markers.

 This marking system encourages the hand to rise in position, especially for the bass side. The mid-string playing is the way to expresse the fullest harmonics spectrum.




​​ how to real the harmonic zithers strings layout 

 The lettering of the chords is the Anglo-Saxon notation system.

You can chose to have this lettering system or not.

zither 12 accord fondamentaux .jpg
Decay + Sustain
zither 12 accord fondamentaux .jpg.jpg
arc [Converti].png
Zither 2 oc.jpg

let yourself be enchanted by the zither melody
by its melody

A sound, a melody, a musical journey is worth more than a thousand words. I suggest you listen on myYoutube channel, different pieces performed on different instrumentsZither.  


The name


 The family of zithers is large. Each continent each culture has its own zither.

A zither is a box on which some strings vibrate. This generic term is therefore very vague.

My work as a luthier has been to study all the ancient zithers with chords still existing to this day. These zithers from Eastern European are all called zithers.

Rehabilitating this name "zither"instead of the name "cithare"we use in French, points exactly to the study that I have retraced since the original instrument. 


 Zither Morning Star 

 The old "cithare"is been called, as its origins,"zither" again. Some will find in it the presence of a new star that risese in the morning of a new day.

A new brilliance never heard before. An instrument in the midst of the future.

Others could also see in it the presence of Mary, the Mother of Christ, with this sentence from the Apocalypse:" And I will give you the Morning Star".

Zither instrument cithare fabrication france musique harmonie bois médiéval folklorique artisanat

my masters
in lutherie

 I would like to thank the lutherie masters who helped me a lot during my research:

 Jean Louchet, in his book "Le guide du cordage", and during our meetings clarified for me the jargon to be used to describe the physics of the string.

 Martine Argelliès, harpsichord maker in Montpellier, showed me how the different types of harpsichords she produces are made, how the sound is formed, and how the energy of the string is transmitted through the sound chain to the top soundboard .

 Roger Frood, is the "reinventor" of the dulcimer in Europe. He is a luthier, a true scientist. He convinced me that the string is the engine of the instrument. The final shape of the instrument is the result of respecting strings layout design.

 Cedric Cardot, a string maker, accepted without hesitation my request for high precision wound strings.

Calculating a new theoretical ideal strings set up for my zithers was already a first challenge. Finding the string maker who would be willing to do it was another.

 Jahnava Gargallo, in her workshop "Ménestrelle Lutherie", she makes  violin, viola, cello. She gave me her exceptional teachings on varnishes.

These professionals offered me their knowledge, without expecting anything return but to share the joy of hearing my first instruments vibrate.

bottom of page