:"The santur is a Persian hammered dulcimer similar to the Indian santoor".The santoor is an Persian stringed musical instrument which is trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer often made of walnut, with seventy strings. The special-shaped mallets ("mezrab") are lightweight and are held between the index and middle fingers. A typical santoor has two sets of bridges, providing a range of three octaves.

The santoor is a hammered dulcimer, derived from the Persian "santur" (which is believed to be the first instrument of its type), and related to similar instruments in Iraq, Pakistan, India, Armenia, Turkey, and other parts of Asia. It is related to the shata-tantri veena of earlier times.

The Kashmiri "santoor" is more rectangular and can have more strings than the original Persian counterpart, which generally has 72 strings. The santoor as used in Kashmiri classical music is played with a pair of curved mallets made of walnut wood and the resultant melodies are similar to the music of the harp, harpsichord or piano. The sound chamber is also made of walnut wood and the bridges are made of local wood and painted dark like ebony. The strings are made of steel.

Notable "santoor" players of the twentieth century include Pandit Bhajan Sopori and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma.


Santoor is an Iranian instrument, which went from Persia (which at the time included present Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, part of south Soviet block, small parts of north-western India, and part of Turkey) and later spread to neighbouring countries, including China.

"Santoor" was used as an accompaniment instrument to the Folk music of Kashmir. It was a 100 stringed instrument played in a style of music known as the "Sufiana Mausiqi". The Sufi mystics used it as an accompaniment to their hymns.

The Original Sanskrit name of Santoor was "Shata Tantri Veena" meaning a lute or a stringed instrument that has over hundred strings. Santoor is a Persian name to this same instrument "Shata Tantri Veena" that has references back to vedic literature.

Anatomy of the "santoor"

The "santoor" is basically made out of wood. The framework is generally made out of either walnut or maple wood. The top and bottom boards sometimes can be either plywood or veneer. On the top board, also known as sound board, wooden bridges are placed, in order to seat stretched strings across. The strings are tied on nails or pins on the left side of the instrument and are stretched over the sound board on top of the bridges to the right side.

On the right side there are steel tuning pegs or tuning pins, as they are commonly known, that allows tuning each individual string to a desired musical note or a frequency or a pitch. The santoor is a unique Indian string instrument that is not plucked or bowed but is played with a pair of light wooden mallets or hammers. The santoor is played while sitting in an "asana" called "Ardha-padmasana" position and placing it on top of the lap.

The santoor is a flat shaped instrument in the form of a trapezoid that means it is wider at one end and short at the other end. It is a wooden box that is broader in size for bass notes or low pitch notes and is tapered at the other side for the high-pitched notes. While playing, the broad side is closer to the waist of the musician and the shorter side is away from the musician. Both left and right hands are used to lightly strike the strikers on the strings. One can also choose to skillfully glide the strikers on the strings.

In any case, the santoor is a very delicate instrument and is very sensitive to such light strokes and glides. The strokes are played always on the strings either closer to the bridges or a little away from bridges. Both styles result in different tones. Sometimes strokes by one hand can be muffled by the other hand by using the face of the palm just to create a variety.

See also

* Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
* Pandit Bhajan Sopori
* Rahul Sharma
* Nandakishor Muley
* Kiranpal Singh Deoora
* Madan Oak, California USA

=External links=
* [ Learn Santoor in California U.S.A]
* [ Official Website of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma]
* [ Official Website of Pooyan Nassehpoor Persian Santoor Player]
* [ Overview of the Indian santoor by David Courtney, Ph.D.]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • santoor — san·toor or san·tur (sänʹto͝or ) n. A Persian dulcimer typically having two bridges and numerous strings, played with a pair of wooden sticks with curved ends.   [Arabic sanṭīr, sanṭūr, from Greek psaltērion, psaltery. See psaltery.] * * * …   Universalium

  • santoor — noun An Indian string instrument, a trapezoidal hammered dulcimer with seventy strings, believed to be derived from the Persian santur …   Wiktionary

  • santoor — n. Persian dulcimer with two bridges and many strings played with a pair of light wooden sticks …   English contemporary dictionary

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