Introducing the Zhaltar

I started designing this new instrument at the beginning of 2022 and finally have a playable prototype. The name Zhaltar comes from the Slovak name for a psaltery. It’s played by plucking the strings, and it’s fully chromatic, with a range just over 5 octaves (C2 to C#7). The zhaltar is a solid-body instrument and a MIDI controller.

Zhaltar prototype

The strings are colored the same as on a piano. The right-hand and left-hand set of strings are each arranged as a whole-tone scale, with the left hand set being a semitone higher than the right. This means that once you learn a melody, you can easily transpose it by moving it up or down a string.

The strings and pickup contacts are made with Aquila Nylgut to give the sound a lute-like mellowness. The MIDI controller functions are still in development. I’ll post some musical samples, as soon as I teach myself how to play the thing!

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