The waldzither (German: "forest zither") is a plucked string instrument from Germany that came up around 1900 in Thuringia. It is a type of cittern that has nine steel strings in five courses. Different types of waldzither come in different tunings, which are generally open tunings as usual in citterns. The most common type has the tuning C3*G3 G3*C4 C4*E4 E4*G4 G4.

Hamburger waldzither.jpg
Hamburg waldzither
String instrument
Classification String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322
(necked box lute)

Producers of the waldzither attempted to establish it as a national instrument of Germany in the first half of the 20th century, when more complicated instruments were hard to get and to afford. Martin Luther was popularly said to have played a similar cittern at the Wartburg.[1][2]


When the lowest single course is omitted, it is sometimes called a waldoline, a portmanteau of waldzither and mandoline (German: "Mandoline").[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Waldzither - Bibliography of the 19th century". Studia Instrumentorum. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "The Stringed Instrument Database: Index".
  3. ^ "The Stringed Instrument Database: W-Z".

External linksEdit