|Clearer Tone, Fuller Sound|
|Solving Sonic Problems|
|Possible Future Innovations|
The development of the zither has cost him the most trouble of all the instruments he has built to date. He would still like very much to do more development, but as the father of a family he could not undertake such an energy-demanding project again; he had to develop four generations of instruments in order to reach one that satisfied him. But meanwhile the framework has been laid down and a basic design established. Only a few fine points remain [to be worked out].
But the tireless stickler for detail is not satisfied himself. "There is still much to be cleared up. In order to make progress it would be necessary to do a series of specially aimed tests, to change the top and bottom surfaces and investigate the best vibration conditions. A resonance chamber is a very complex thing."
Another idea of the ambitious musician is to integrate a damping mechanism into the zither, as with the hackbrett, thus requiring a correspondingly higher body. Damping from beneath is impossible because of the small distance of the strings from the right edge, as in this case all strings could not be damped equally. It might be possible to damp near the bridge, but this would have an effect on the sound-and that means back to details, details, details. Moreover he regrets that the zither is the only instrument that he has made heavier and larger. "The harpsichord, the hackbrett, and the virginals-I made all of them lighter. An inflatable rubber zither would be ideal."
"My zithers are not particularly designed for modern music, as the tonal qualities that give my instruments a clear distinctive keynote are heard primarily in Musica Antiqua and folk music." And even if his instrument does not correspond to the traditional sound expectations, he believes that it is absolutely suited to folk music, since it blends better. "The guitar and the diatonic [instruments] are often very good in folk music groups, while hackbrett and zither usually don't sound as good."