Best Santur Academy & Exhibition - Rohatgi Music & Art Gallery

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Santur is an instrument inĀ¬diĀ¬geĀ¬nous to Kashmir, but nowadays played throughout the North. It is a hammered dulcimer which is struck with light wooden mallets. The numĀ¬ber of strings may be as few as 24 or more than 100. Typical sizes tend to be around 80. It has a vibrant tone and has beĀ¬come very popĀ¬ular in the last 20 years. One must not confuse the InĀ¬dian santur with the Persian santur. The InĀ¬dian santur is box-like while the Persian version is much wider. The small wooden mallets are placed lightly betĀ¬ween the index and midĀ¬dle fingers. This is facilitated by two finger sized cut-outs in the mallets. Tuning styles are extĀ¬remely variable. They are us-ually tuned to the parĀ¬tiĀ¬cuĀ¬lar rag and must therefore be retuned for each piece. FurĀ¬therĀ¬more difĀ¬ferĀ¬ent artĀ¬ists have their own styles of tuning. The origin of the instrument is clear. The name, strucĀ¬ture, and technique point solidly to the Middle East. Yet, there are those who attempt to trace its origins to an ancient InĀ¬dian harp like instrument known as "Vana Veena". There is absoĀ¬lutely no evidence for this latĀ¬ter view. If we are to accept this proĀ¬poĀ¬siĀ¬tion, then how are we to explain its 2000 year disappearance, followed by a miraculous reappearance in a form and usage that, by mere coincidence, is siĀ¬mi-lar to the midĀ¬dle eastern santur? It is clear that attempts to link the santur with this Vedic instrument are a mere refĀ¬lecĀ¬tion of a Hindu culĀ¬tural bias and are not supĀ¬portable by serĀ¬ious scholarship.

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