Hungarian Citera

If it's not a guitar or a bass guitar discussion, and it's got strings, put it here.
Post Reply
David Smith
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 pm

Hungarian Citera

Post by David Smith »

Here are photos of my recently completed Hungarian Citera. This is a unique regional variation of the zither that has a chromatic fretboard and several drone strings. I decided that instead of commercial fretwire, I used the traditional method of streel wire that is bent into a staple shape and inserted into holes drilled in the fretboard. I created my design from photos and information that I gleaned from the internet. The design is fairly traditional, most Citera's are open on the bottom.
Attachments
IMG_2961.JPG
IMG_2959.JPG
IMG_2857.JPG

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Steve Senseney »

You have to show more pictures!!

I don't quite understand the design, but would like to see more!

Owen Woods
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:49 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Owen Woods »

What a beautiful instrument!

User avatar
Jon Whitney
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:04 am

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Jon Whitney »

That is nice and very unusual. I've never seen one before. Are the three sets of unfretted strings sympathetic vibrators, or do you strum them for three-chord harmony?

Nicholas Blanton
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:52 am
Location: Shepherdstown, WV, USA
Contact:

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Nicholas Blanton »

I agree, nice design.Is it all pine? The last citeras I saw were made from one piece of something like white pine, hollowed out and stained dark, but having a cross-grain piece at the tail end is a very good idea.

I didn't think tuning pins in softwood would work very well, but they seemed to function just fine.

David Smith
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by David Smith »

Here is more information on the Citera. The soundboard is spruce. All other pieces are maple. The string length for the melody strings (those that are over the fretboard) is 21 1/2". There are 2 separate melody groups. The first group (3 stings) near the edge of the instrument would correspond to the white keys on a piano. The second group (2 stings) of melody strings would correspond to the black keys on a piano. All melody strings are tuned to g1. All the rest are drone strings tuned to C, c1, c2 g2, c3.

There is a totally free Citera Method that can be downloaded and there are also 15 sound files of traditional Hundgarian tunes that go along with the numbered music. Download the file titled "zither_basic_en v1.03.pdf"

http://www.zither.hu/cms/index.php?opti ... 16&lang=en
Attachments
All the basic pieces are maple.
All the basic pieces are maple.
IMG_2655.JPG
The fretboard is made of 1/4" maple.  The unique frets are staples made from .055" steel wire and are glued into predrilled holes.  The nuts and bridges are also steel wire staples.
The fretboard is made of 1/4" maple. The unique frets are staples made from .055" steel wire and are glued into predrilled holes. The nuts and bridges are also steel wire staples.

David Smith
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by David Smith »

Here is a close up of the unique split chromatic fretboard on the Hungarian Citera. The nearest group of 3 strings would correspond to the white keys on a piano and the next group of 2 strings correspond to the sharps or black keys. When either group is not fretted, they act as drone strings.
Attachments
IMG_2957a.JPG

David Smith
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by David Smith »

Here is a video of my first attempt at playing my Hungarian Citera. The two tunes are numbers 3 and 4 from the free Citera Method book listed below.

http://youtu.be/OHdK6-NpWxE

There is a totally free Citera Method that can be downloaded and there are also 15 sound files of traditional Hundgarian tunes that go along with the numbered music. Download the file titled "zither_basic_en v1.03.pdf"

http://www.zither.hu/cms/index.php?opti ... 16&lang=en

Enjoy,
David Smith
Dearborn, Michigan

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Steve Senseney »

Nice!

User avatar
Jon Whitney
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:04 am

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Jon Whitney »

Who knew "Old Joe Clark" was a traditional Hungarian tune?

Just kidding, but it does seem to be in the same modal scale as these tunes. I like it - very Eastern European.

Nicholas Blanton
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:52 am
Location: Shepherdstown, WV, USA
Contact:

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by Nicholas Blanton »

The Flemish use the same split fretboard on their hommels, with a natural scale on one, chromatics on the other.. It can seem wacky, if you think of people fretting chords, like they do now in the US. But if you strum towrads your body, not away, and play a melody "noter style', on just one string course, it's very useful.

David Smith
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 pm

Re: Hungarian Citera

Post by David Smith »

I have played mountain dulcimer for over 30 years and since building my Citera over 3 years ago, I have concluded that the split chromatic fretboard of the Citera is a really wonderful idea. The inspiration for building my own Citera came from an impromptu performance by a young Hungarian performer who I had the pleasure of hearing live several years ago. I made a recording of much of her performance and if you like to hear it, here is a link:
http://youtu.be/FzbLXARceuw
And here is a link where she talks about the instruments:
http://youtu.be/urkvpUCJlC0

Enjoy,
David Smith

Post Reply