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Chord zithers similar to the instrument in the photograph also became popular in North America during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Chord zithers were often marketed under confusing brand names like 'guitar zither' or 'mandoline zither'.
Some of these employed movable bridges similar to the Japanese koto, used for retuning the drone strings.
The Alpine Scheitholt furnishes an example of this older type of European zither.
The word 'zither' is derived from Latin cythara, which was used in this form for the title covers on many 16th and 17th century German printed manuscript books originally for the 'cittern' – from the Greek word kithara, an instrument used in Ancient Greece.
The German scholar Michael Praetorius described a small English cittern as a in his treatise Syntagma Musicum, published during the early 17th century, recording the language consonant shift.