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 LESSONS in Indian Music

Santoor : Lesson 2

The Santoor is a string instrument. However, unlike other string instruments like the sitar, which is played by plucking and the Sarangi, which is played with a bow, the Santoor needs to be neither plucked nor bowed. You produce music from the Santoor by striking or lightly hammering it. As such, it does not have provision for Meend or Aandolan. It is a highly-rhythm oriented instrument.

Structurally, it consists of a wooden, almost rectangular box on which a hundred strings are tied horizontally. The strings are mounted on 25 frets. Each fret has three or four strings attached to it. Each of these strings is tuned to the same note. When you strike a note, the three-four strings come alive and this adds to the resonance of the instrument. This is the peculiarity of this instrument. The modern Santoor has four additional frets and sixteen additional strings to them to bring about greater range of expressiveness.

To play the Santoor, the musician either places this box on his/her lap or places it on a stand kept in front. The broad end of the box faces the player; the narrow end of the box faces the audience. The player gently strokes the strings with a pair of soft wooden strikers, made of walnut. Stroking creates ripples of mellifluous sounds.

Related Instruments Yang chin (China) ; . Zambalon (Hungary) ; Santoori (Greece) ; Santoo (Iran) ; Kanteli (Finland) ; Piano (played all over the western world)

Major exponents : Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma was born in Jammu and groomed by his father Pt.Uma Dutt Sharma, a dedicated Santoor player. He initially studied the Tabla under his father's guidance until the Santoor caught his imagination. He never looked back. Single-handedly, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma has worked on the Santoor and developed it to its present state. He has given it sheen and flexibility. To him can be attributed the fact that the Santoor is now an indispensable part of the Indian musical firmament. He has a large fan following and has cut many albums.

Among today's popular artists are Bhajan Sopari, Ulhas Bapat and Surinder Sharma.


Santoor : Lesson 1 Lesson 2


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