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|>>2. Waldzithersymposium Bericht von Doc Rossi (englisch)|
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Second
Waldzither Symposium, held in Suhl, a small town in the middle of the
For those of you who don't know, the Waldzither is a 19th-century
cittern that continues to be played in Germany. There is a similar instrument
in Switzerland, too. There are three sizes these days - a small one and
a larger one, both tuned in G, and a mandola-sized one in C (by far the
most popular). Each has five courses - four pairs and one single bass.
C instruments are tuned C G C E G (low to high); G instruments G D G B
D, the larger pitched lower than the C tuning, the smaller higher. The
smallest instrument is about the
Things started off Friday evening with a general meeting
about what would be happening when. It was great to walk into a room full
of citterns, many of them from the 1920s, and of citternists and cittern
builders - most of them much younger! The average age of players is
After lunch a group of us got together to try out some new instruments designed and built by Steffen Milbradt. He made instruments in the three sizes I mentioned above with two different tops - one group had an arched top, the other had a three-piece top with joints angled to form an arch. There were no top braces on the latter instruments, the stress being taken up by the three-piece structure. All of the instruments were much deeper than traditional instruments - about 10cm. We all agreed that the three-piece instruments had more projection and a rounder tone than the arched ones. Compared to traditional designs, his instruments had a weaker bass, which I find is typical of arched instruments anyway. They did sound very good in an ensemble and were all quite playable, especially considering that they were also all prototypes. There were several other makers in attendance, too, so we all had a chance to try out their instruments as well as several from the early 20th century.
Saturday evening there was a concert with several different performers in several styles. I won't go into details but will only say that it was a great evening with a lot of fine music. German TV station 2DF (ZDF) taped the first half, and I gather that a snippet was broadcast last Friday evening. Another station (MDR) did some taping on Sunday morning, too.
Sunday morning began with a meeting about producing a modern tutor/ method book specifically for the waldzither. Steffen Milbradt then gave a talk called "Modern Waldzither construction as an instrument family." Finally, I led another session on 18th-century instruments and technique. Two participants actually brought 18th-century citterns with them, both of which were very nice. All-in-all it was a wonderful weekend and I'm looking forward to the next one in 2007.
We also talked about the international organization
that I mentioned in a previous posting. There has been a lot of interest
and I'll keep you informed as things progress.
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