We’re here to make your shopping experience easier, whether you’re looking for relaxing Chinese music or guzheng accessories. Choose from classical or contemporary music, T-shirts, coffee mugs, greeting cards, trucker hats, cotton canvas tote bags, refrigerator magnets, posters, colorful buttons, cooking aprons, and more unique guzheng gifts.
Benjamin Hoff (Author) Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time.
Music is always a popular gift, and it’s even more special when there’s an opportunity to share a rich Chinese tradition that dates back more than 2,500 years. Introduce someone to the beautiful sounds of the guzheng, or Gu Zheng. This unique string instrument is also known as the Chinese zither.
Shirts are always a welcome gift, and these selections are sure to be a conversation starter for those not yet familiar with the Chinese zither. Choose from dozens of style, size, and color combinations for a personalized gift.
Here’s one of our favorite inexpensive gift ideas for guzheng players and enthusiasts. Refrigerator magnets are always practical. Standard size square magnets measure 2 by 2 inches. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper. Scratch and UV-resistant Mylar keeps magnets looking fresh and new for years to come.
Mugs are one of our favorite affordable guzheng gifts. Everyone can use a few mugs. Click on any mug to see how the design looks from different angles. Choose from many sizes, styles, and colors to create a personal gift for your favorite Chinese harpist.
Classic cotton-poly twill blend aprons are another of our top picks for practical guzheng gifts. Choose from several style and color options. Spacious front pockets hold plenty of utensils and cooking tools. Aprons are machine washable and proudly made in the U.S.A.
If you’re looking for personal, yet inexpensive guzheng gifts for a player or enthusiast, greeting cards are a thoughtful solution. They always come in handy for keeping in touch with friends and family. These cards measure 5 by 7 inches and are printed on ultra-heavyweight (120 lb.) card stock with a gloss finish. A white envelope is included with each card.
Here’s another fun and inexpensive way to show appreciation for your favorite musical instrument. Standard size square buttons measure 2 inches by 2 inches. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper, then covered with scratch and UV-resistant Mylar for many years of enjoyment. Choose the styles shown here, or select a new background color for a customized music gift.
One of the most popular guzheng gifts is a set of playing cards. Each comes packaged in a cardboard box for easy gifting. Poker size cards measure 2.5 by 3.5 inches, with 52 playing cards and 2 jokers per deck. Click on any design to see the available options. Standard cards are printed on smooth card stock, and premium quality Bicycle playing cards are printed on durable semi-gloss card stock.
Similar to Shakespeare’s oft-told tale, “Romeo and Juliet,” the story of “The Butterfly Lovers” is about love, passion, devotion, desperation, and transformation. This lovely performance by guzheng artist and composer Bei Bei was recorded in Los Angeles, California on a beautiful spring day.
Confucius If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer.
The zither instrument has several strings stretched across a shallow wooden box, and is played with the fingers or a pick. If there is a zitherist among your circle of friends, these hand-picked selections will help you find the perfect gift.
Choose from music, T-shirts, cooking aprons, refrigerator magnets, posters, coffee mugs, trucker hats, postcards, cotton canvas tote bags, colorful buttons, and more unique zither gifts.
Joseph Cotten Orson Welles lists ‘Citizen Kane’ as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for ‘Shadow of a Doubt,’ and Sir Carol Reed chose ‘The Third Man’–and I’m in all of them.
Fashionable shirts make a wonderful gift. With so many colors and styles to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find just the right design and sentiment for your favorite zitherist. Click on any design to see what’s available for everyone from babies to seniors.
Here’s one of our favorite inexpensive gift ideas for zither players and fans. Who doesn’t love refrigerator magnets? Standard size square magnets measure 2 by 2 inches. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper. Scratch and UV-resistant Mylar keeps magnets looking new for years to come.
Mugs are one of our favorite affordable zither gifts. Everyone can use a few mugs. Click on any mug to see how the design looks from different angles. Choose from many sizes, styles, and colors to create a personal gift for your favorite zitherist.
We love music-themed postcards and these vintage zitherist cards are pretty enough to frame. Postcards are inexpensive and always appreciated by people who enjoy keeping in touch with friends and family. These postcards measure 4.25 by 5.6 inches, and are printed on ultra-heavyweight (120 lb) card stock with a gloss finish.
Classic cotton-poly twill blend aprons are another of our top picks for practical zither gifts. Choose from several style and color options. Spacious front pockets hold plenty of utensils and cooking tools. Aprons are machine washable and proudly made in the U.S.A.
Here’s a fun and inexpensive gift idea for your favorite zitherist or fan of this unique string instrument. Standard size square buttons measure 2 inches by 2 inches. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper and covered with scratch and UV-resistant Mylar for years of use and enjoyment. Some designs allow you to choose a different background color for a customized button gift.
One of the most popular zither gifts is a set of playing cards. Each comes packaged in a cardboard box for easy gifting. Poker size cards measure 2.5 by 3.5 inches, with 52 playing cards and 2 jokers per deck. Click on any design to see the available options. Standard cards are printed on smooth card stock, and premium quality Bicycle playing cards are printed on durable semi-gloss card stock.
The Third Man (1949)
British director Carol Reed’s film noir was set in post-World War II Vienna and starred Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Considered one of the greatest films of all time, The Third Man is celebrated for its acting, cinematography, and musical score. Viennese zitherist Anton Karas wrote and performed the score, using only the zither. In 1950 the film’s title music “The Third Man Theme” topped the music charts and Anton Karas became an international star.
The zither is an instrument similar to a psaltery, with many strings stretched across a thin, flat body. The number of strings can vary from twelve to more than fifty. Zithers can be played in many different ways. The strings can be plucked with the fingers, or alternatively with a plectrum or pick. They can also be strummed with a bow, or sounded by beating them with specially designed hammers.
Like a guitar or lute, a zither’s body serves as a resonating chamber, or sound box. Unlike guitars and lutes a zither does not have a separate neck assembly.
More Zither Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a zitherist.
Notable zitherists include Basia Bulat, Kerry Christensen, Karineh Hovhanessian, Anton Karas, Rudi Knabl, Linda McCartney, Adolf Schneer, John Sebastian, and Manfred Schuler.
Celebrated director Carol Reed moved unknown Viennese musical performer Anton Karas to his home in London. Working from Reed’s oak dining table, the pair collaborated on the score for three months. Karas worked up to 14 hours each day, composing and recording the film’s zither-only score.
“The Third Man Theme” topped the music charts in 1950. Moreover, the film’s trailer stated that Karas would have the audience “in a dither with his zither.” Anton Karas and his unique instrument gained international fame as a result of this exposure.
Time Magazine “Dither Zither” (1949) The picture demanded music appropriate to post-World War II Vienna, but director [Carol] Reed had made up his mind to avoid schmaltzy, heavily orchestrated waltzes. In Vienna one night Reed listened to a wine-garden zitherist named Anton Karas, and was fascinated by the jangling melancholy of his music.
The psaltery is a stringed musical instrument belonging to the zither family. Psalteries are often depicted in the manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures of 12th to 15th century Europe. The psalteries of Ancient Greece resembled small harps. Modern psalteries are based on the guitar zither and the autoharp.
Psalteries have appeared in a variety of forms and styles throughout history. On the earlier instruments that resembled harps, the strings were plucked. On subsequent versions, the strings could either be struck or bowed.
The bowed psaltery was introduced in the early 20th century and is the style most frequently seen and played today. Modern psalteries are triangular in shape, played with a bow, with strings running down both sides of the soundboard. This unique triangular shape allows the end portion of each string to be bowed.
Here’s another great thing about modern bowed psalteries. You don’t need to learn fingering positions. Each string produces a single note. The bow plays just one note at a time, so the psaltery is primarily a melody instrument. Its haunting sound is well suited to folk songs, hymns, and carols.
More Psaltery Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a psalterist.
Notable psalterists include Satis Coleman, James Jones, Rick Long, Lowell Mason, Eric Meier, Donna Missigman, Ann Tucker, and George James Webb.
James Jones has been building custom musical instruments in his rural Bedford, Virginia shop since 1978. He produces an entire line of fine string instruments, including bouzoukis, hammered dulcimers, Appalachian dulcimers, harps, mandolins, zithers–and of course, psalteries. Visit his website, James Jones Instruments to see what’s available now. This introduction to the instrument is played on one of his 2-1/2 octave alto bowed psalteries.
Since 2012 Baltic Psalteries has manufactured more than 2,000 unique handcrafted instruments. Sharing music is a passion–more than 200 psalteries have been donated to orphanages, music institutions, and large families.
Baltic Psalteries Our psalteries are designed for both professional musicians as well as people with no special musical education. We have had some fabulous reviews from folk groups and famous musicians.
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The guzheng or Gu Zheng is a Chinese string instrument. Sometimes the name is shortened to zheng. No matter what you call it, the large, slender instrument functions as a plucked zither with 18 or more strings and movable bridges.
According to musicologists, the guzheng was inspired by early bamboo tube zithers. Today’s guzheng is quite different from the instruments made centuries ago. Modern players use picks–called DaiMao–which are often made from hawksbill turtle shells. Ancient picks were carved from ivory or tortoise shells.
Western musical styles have inspired a more modern playing technique where the left hand is used to provide harmony and bass notes. This allows for greater flexibility in the instrument’s musical range, but tends to limit subtle ornamentations provided by the left hand in more traditional music. Students at the Beijing Conservatory are required to learn a repertoire of both traditional and modern pieces.
Here are a few more interesting guzheng facts. Centuries ago the strings were made from silk. Today they’re nearly always metal-nylon, which increases the instrument’s capabilities, volume, and timbre. The strings are capable of creating graceful sounds that mimic a cascading waterfall, or stronger sounds like thunder and trotting horses.
Indeed, well known pieces for the guzheng suggest a connection to nature. For example, Yu Zhou Chang Wan (Songs of Fishing Boats at Dusk), Gao Shan Liu Shui (High Mountains Flowing Water), and Han Gong Qiu Yue (Autumn Moon Over the Han Palace).
More Guzheng Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a guzhengist or Chinese harpist.
Notable guzhengists include Bei Bei He, Shirley Wang, Melody Yan, and Wang Zhongshan.
Here’s one of the most interesting autoharp facts. Despite the name, an autoharp isn’t a harp at all. It’s actually a chorded zither.
How does it work? A series of chord bars are attached to dampers. When the chord bars are depressed during play, strings are muted to form the desired chord. Modern autoharps usually have 36 or 37 strings. Some have as many as 47 strings, and a rare 48-string model also exists.
In the United States, the autoharp often provides rhythm in bluegrass and country music. However, skilled chromatic players can perform a range of melodies on the instrument.
More Autoharp Facts
Did you know … a person who performs on this string instrument is called an autoharpist.
Notable autoharpists include Neriah McCubbins “Mr. Cub” Benfield and his son Kenneth Benfield, Bryan Bowers, Basia Bulat, Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins), Sheryl Crow, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Janis Joplin, Linda McCartney, Dolly Parton, John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), Kilby Snow and his son Jim Snow, Ernest V. Stoneman, and Joni Mitchell.
Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family
The autoharp was a favorite with the historic Carter Family, including Maybelle Carter, her cousin Sara Carter, and her daughters Helen Carter and June Carter Cash. The Carter Family adopted an upright style for playing that was developed by Grand Ole Opry star Cecil Null.
Maybelle Carter’s granddaughter Carlene carries on the family tradition today, performing onstage as well as on her recordings. Carlene’s 1990 song “Me and the Wildwood Rose” was dedicated to her grandmother Maybelle Carter.