Comments of an Exotic
I am an exotic even in folk music:
Wow! How neat, a zither!
An instrument seldom seen and even more seldom heard, because the zither is often too “soft-spoken” next to the powerful accordion and the hammered dulcimer
ENORMOUS CONFUSION followed my departure from the cozy Tyrolean “Stube” and the music innate to it. There followed Baroque lute music, Balkan folklore, pop, vihuela music, Indian ragas, Gurdjieff mysticism, autochthonous Inuit music???
Bartok, Pärt, Pirchner, Powell, Bialas, Britten, Piazolla, etc.
absolutely nothing original
met a couple of guys that had taken on the Herculean task of composing for an instrument with such an unorthodox idiomatic set-up that there was no room for standard musical arrangement (A poor man’s piano? Forget it! A fat guitar? No way!)
The reward: a gigantic compositional playfield of to-be-discovered sounds and tantalizing potential
Trial runs with erasers and knitting needles, various tuning wrenches and bottlenecks, plastic zither rings, a fossil tooth, a pre-paid telephone card, goose quill and horn, eating millet three times a week (in the hope of developing robust finger nails) and a harpsichord maker who, after tinkering around for years, has come to revolutionize zither making.
By the way: Martin Mallaun still occasionally relaxes in one of the cozy Tyrolean “Stuben”, nipping at a glass of good wine and making native folk music with his friends.