The tremoloa /ˈtrmlwə/,[1] plural tremoloas, is a stringed instrument belonging to the fretless zither family. It was produced in United States in response to the rapid increase in popularity of Hawaiian music during the 1920s, and continued to be produced until the 1950s.[2] Musical collective Broken Social Scene features the instrument in "Tremoloa Debut."

A rare tremoloa with staggered soundholes on display in the Dickinson County Historical Museum
String instrument
Other namesHawaiian tremoloa, fr: Trémoloa
Hornbostel–Sachs classification314.122-6
(Board zither sounded by a plectrum)
Inventor(s)Harold Finney, John H. Large
DevelopedEarly 20th century
Playing range
Tremoloa Range.svg
Related instruments

The tremoloa simulates the tonal effects of the Hawaiian steel guitar by passing a weighted roller stabilized by a swinging lever termed an arm, along a melody string.[3] Following, moving the roller after plucking creates tremolo, an effect which gave rise to its name. Additionally, the tremoloa possesses four chords (C, G, F, and D major), to strum out the harmony.[4]

The patent for the tremoloa was granted in 1932 to Harold Finney and John H. Large.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Brooks, Edouard (July 2013). "Tremoloa Documents Archive". Tremoloa Documents Archive. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  2. ^ Miner, Gregg and Kelly Williams (July 2011). "Fretless Zither Categories and Sub-Categories". Fretless Zithers. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  3. ^ Other accessories for Hawaiian tremoloa (PDF), Manufacturers Advertising Company
  4. ^ Goering, Jurgen (16 April 2000). "'Hawaiian Tremoloa' Zitheroid". Mechanical Music Digest Archives. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  5. ^ Williams, Kelly (6 January 2002). "Tremoloa". The Guitar-Zither Clearinghouse. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  6. ^ US patent 1847303, Finney, Harold & Large, John, "Stringed musical instrument", issued 1932-3-1, assigned to International Musical Corporation 

External linksEdit