Folk instr., descendant of medieval psaltery, prevalent in Austrian Tyrol and Bavaria. Consists of flat wooden soundbox over which are stretched 4 or 5 melody str. and up to 37 acc. str. Melody str., nearest to player, are stopped on fretted fingerboard with fingers of left hand and plucked by plectrum on right thumb. Acc. str. are plucked by fingers of either hand. Used for ‘local colour’ in operetta scores. Gained great popularity in Eng. after World War II when film The Third Man had as theme mus. a zither tune written and played by Anton Karas.