Asbjoern Andersen

US sound designer and recordist Russell Gorsky has just released Twisted Zither, a brand-new library with some interesting zither sounds. He certainly gave that zither a good workout – and below, he shares some of the techniques and tools he used to coax out the haunting, organic sounds for his latest SFX release.

Hi Russell, how did you come up with the idea for Twisted Zither?

I was brainstorming ideas for a new library and remembered I had an old, out-of-tune Zither in the closed so I broke it out and recorded an hour of it being mangled and beaten.

What’s included in the library? And what makes the sound of the zither so special?

Included in the library is 2.1GB’s of scrapes, plucks, mallet hits, metal hits, and resonant movements of detuned strings and wood. I think a Zither is a very interesting instrument that gives a variety of different tonal and non-tonal elements. The dissonance is my favorite part!

Some of the tools used to make the zither moan and groan

Some of the tools used to make the zither moan and groan

What was your recording setup for this? And what props did you use?

I used two barcus berry contact mics, that were spread wide for some recordings, and narrow for others. I also used two Neumann U87’s overhead about 2 feet above the zither. As for props, I used 2 mallets – one small and one large -, african shakers, keys, coins, a metal beam, and my fingers.

What approach produced the most surprising sounds?

I love the coin scrapes the most. I came across a lot of “happy accidents” in those recordings and there all lot of room for creative sound design with those sounds.


What kinds of projects do you imagine the Twisted Zither sounds being useful for?

I think these sounds can be used for many different projects. The tonal elements can be used for drones or musical textures, and the scrapes and wood squeaks would be great for creature vocals, but really these sounds can be mangled and processed into anything!

What’s the current state of that zither?

The poor old zither now is resting for all the abuse I have put it through. It’s quite a bit more beat up and out of tune now!

Thanks to Russell Gorsky for sharing the story behind his new SFX library!
Get the full version of Russell’s zither library below:

  • Twisted Zither features recordings of an old zither being plucked, scraped, hit, and shaken. The library includes string hits, wood hits, tones, and different resonant sounds using a number of props such as mallets, african shakers, keys, coins, a metal beam, and fingers.

    If you're looking for organic, wooden – and eerie – sounds, this one's not to be missed.

    This library includes the Suburb Rain SFX collection at no extra cost - featuring almost 50 minutes of rain recordings
    Add to cart

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