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Annotated Checklist of Zithers by Franz Schwarzer

In Chronological Order

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NMM 12109. Violin zither (bowed zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, Missouri, ca. 1873-1883. Heart-Shaped Violin Zither. No serial number. Four strings. Body: 578 mm long; 260 mm wide. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


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NMM 12966. Alpine zither (Arion zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, ca. 1873-1883. Mittenwalder form. No serial number. 30 strings (5 melody, 27 chord). Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


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NMM 12108. Alpine zither (Primzither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, ca. 1883-1885. Prime Zither Small Model No. 3. No serial number. 32 strings (5 melody, 27 accompaniment). Body: 455 mm long; 225 mm wide. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


NMM 2860. Violin zither (bowed zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1888. Concert Violin Zither No. 106. Serial number 2959. 4 strings. Body: 623 mm long; fretboard: 321 mm long; vibrating string length: 352 mm. Originally sold to Theodore Lohr, October 23, 1888. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.


NMM 12882. Alpine zither (Arion harp zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1888. Custom Special model. Serial number 2988. Fabric lettering glued to case lining: OBSEQUIO DE / EPIFANIO ALVAREZ / A SU HIJO / GUILLERMO. / S. PABLO, M. 43 strings (5 melody, 38 accompaniment). Body: 770 mm long, 395 mm wide; fretboard: 425 mm long; 60 mm wide. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


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NMM 12107. Alpine zither (Elegie, Altzither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1889. Elegy Zither No. 85. Serial number 3633. 32 strings (5 melody, 27 accompaniment). Body: 570 mm long, 220 mm wide. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


NMM 12970. Alpine zither (Arion Perfecta zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, ca. 1891-1920. Schwarzer’s Piano Bottom Perfecta Arion Harp. Serial number missing due to fingerboard replacement. 42 strings (5 melody, 24 bass strings, and 13 sub-bass strings). Body: 480 mm long, 370 mm wide; fretboard: 60 mm wide. Ex coll.: John C. Scherer, Director, Twin Cities Zither Club, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


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NMM 4528. Alpine zither (Columbia model #174) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1894. Serial number 6031. 36 strings (5 melody, 31 accompaniment). Originally sold to Alf O. Müller, November 12, 1894. Arne B. Larson Estate, 1988.


NMM 12962. Violin zither (bowed zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1895. Concert Violin Zither No. 105. Serial number 6454. 4 strings. Body: 625 mm long; upper bout, 190 mm; waist, 112 mm; lower bout, 255 mm. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


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NMM 12103. Alpine zither (concert zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1896. Concert Zither Style A Standard Model No. 17. Serial number 6679. 32 strings (5 melody, 27 accompaniment). Body: 554 mm long, 280 mm wide; fretboard: 365 mm long, 57 mm wide; melody string vibrating length: 410 mm. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


NMM 1271. Alpine zither (concert zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, 1900. Special Arion Model No. 64. Serial number 7859. 38 strings (5 melody, 33 accompaniment). Originally sold to A. D. Barnhart, April 23, 1900. Played by Mrs. George P. Sexauer, Brookings, South Dakota, first half 20th century. Gift of Verna S. Lippert, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 1977.

Lit.:  "Research Projects Continue," Shrine to Music Museum, Inc. Newsletter 10, No. 4 (July 1983), p. 4.


NMM 12967. Alpine zither (concert zither) by Franz Schwarzer workshop, Washington, 1907. No. 23 Concert Zither Style A. Serial number 9384. 35 strings (5 melody, 30 accompaniment). Body: 550 mm long, 300 mm wide; fretboard: 360 mm long, 60 mm wide; melody string vibrating length: 415 mm. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.


NMM 5719. Violin zither (bowed zither) by Franz Schwarzer workshop, Washington, 1909. Concert Violin Zither No. 108. Serial number 9647. 4 strings. Body: 601 mm long; upper bout width: 190 mm; center bout width: 118 mm; lower bout width: 118 mm; vibrating string length: 348 mm. Originally sold to musical instrument dealer, Henry J. Schaber. Gift of Lewis and Donna Kirke and family, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1993.

Lit.: "Important Instruments Acquired in 1993," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 21, No. 2 (January 1994), p. 2.


NMM 12881. Alpine zither (Arion harp zither) by Franz Schwarzer workshop, Washington, ca. 1920. Custom Special Arion Harp Zither; Mittenwalder Form. Serial number 10517. 43 strings (5 melody, 38 accompaniment). Ex coll.: Emma Wellisch, St. Paul, Minnesota. Paul and Jean Christian Collection, 2006.

Lit.: Darla Earnest, "Schwarzer's Arion Harp Zither Reflects Golden Era in USA," National Music Museum Newsletter 34, No. 1 (February 2007), pp. 1-2.

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