Introduction And Development Of Santoor Musical Instrument In English

Introduction And Development Of Santoor Musical Instrument
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Introduction And Development Of Santoor Musical Instrument

Introduction –

  • The Indian santoor instrument is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer, and is a variation of the Iranian santoor. The instrument is generally made of walnut and has 25 bridges.
  • Each bridge has 4 strings, making a total of 100 strings. It is a traditional musical instrument of Jammu and Kashmir and has a history dating back to ancient times. In ancient Sanskrit texts it was called Shath Tantri Veena.


  • In ancient Sanskrit texts, it is referred to as Shatatantri Veena (100-stringed veena). Santoor was used to accompany folk music in Kashmir. It is played in a style of music known as Sufiana mousiki.
  • In Indian Santoor playing, specially shaped mallets are lighter and are held between the index and middle fingers. A typical santoor has two sets of bridges, providing a range of three octaves.
  • The Indian santoor is more rectangular and may have more strings than its Persian counterpart, which typically has 72 strings. Musical instruments similar to the santoor are traditionally used throughout the world.


  • The trapezoid frame is usually made of walnut or maple wood. The top and bottom boards can sometimes be either plywood or veneer.
  • On the top board, also known as the soundboard, wooden bridges are placed to accommodate the stretched metal strings.
  • The strings, grouped in units of 3 or 4, are fastened to nails or pins on the left side of the instrument and stretched over the sound board over the tops of the bridges on the right side.
  • On the right side are the steel tuning pegs or tuning pins as they are commonly known, which allow each unit of the string to be tuned to the desired musical note or frequency or pitch.


  • Santoor is played while sitting in a posture called Ardha-Padmasana and keeping it in the lap. When playing, the wide part is closer to the musician’s waist and the shorter part is away from the musician.
  • It is played with a pair of light wooden hammers held with both hands. The santoor is a delicate instrument and is sensitive to light strokes and glides.
  • Strokes are always played on the strings either close to the bridges or slightly away from the bridges: styles result in different intonations. To create variation, strokes with one hand can be pressed against the other hand using the face of the palm.

Notable Players-

  • Ulhas Bapat
  • Tarun Bhattacharya
  • Rahul Sharma
  • Shivkumar Sharma
  • Abhay Sopori
  • Bhajan Sopori
  • R. Visvesvaran
  • Varsha Agarwal
  • Mohammad Tibet Bakal
  • Harjinder Pal Singh
  • Areti Ketime