Title: Exploring the Santoor: An Ancient Instrument of Melody
Welcome to my blog! I’m Ashwin Walawalkar, an artist passionate about the magical world of music. Today, I want to introduce you to the enchanting instrument called the Santoor. Originating from the beautiful valley of Kashmir, this instrument, also known as the Shatha Tantri Veena or the hundred strings harp, has a rich history and plays a significant role in the traditional music of Sufiana Mausiqi.
Over the past 60 to 70 years, the renowned artist Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shiva Kumar Sharma has devoted his efforts to developing and refining the Santoor for Hindustani music. He has revolutionized playing techniques and modified the instrument from 25 to 32 bridges, making it the standard configuration we see today.
The Santoor is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer with a framework made of either Maple or Walnut wood. Both the upper and lower body of the instrument are crafted from ply, and the upper body, known as the soundboard, is where the bridges are placed. Strings are stretched from the left side to the right side, and the tuning pins, located on the right side, allow you to tune the instrument.
Each bridge on the Santoor holds three strings, which are tuned to the same note. Traditionally, the instrument is tuned in the D scale, equivalent to a safedh dho Y2 in Western music, where D is the base note.
To play the Santoor, you sit cross-legged in a position known as ardha padmasana, placing the instrument on your lap with the broader side facing west. The Santoor is played using wooden mallets called kalams or mesahrabhs. These mallets are held with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb, while the ring finger provides support. When striking the Santoor, you use only the two fingers holding the mallet, not your entire hand.
The middle finger presses the strings, while the thumb lifts the mallet to strike the desired bridge. The mallet can be struck on the left or right side bridge, producing different tones. The sounds produced are truly mesmerizing.
When purchasing a Santoor, it’s important to consider a few factors. The instrument should weigh no more than 5 kilograms, with the standard weight ranging from 4.5 to 5 kilograms. Additionally, check the height of the bridges to ensure they are properly aligned. The nuts on the bridges should be made of plastic or ivory, avoiding metal. It’s crucial to ensure that the instrument produces a clear and sustained resonance, without any muffled or dampened tones.
Exploring the world of Santoor is an incredible journey, and I hope this blog post has piqued your curiosity. To learn more and watch demonstrations, make sure to subscribe to our channel and don’t forget to press the bell icon for notifications.
Thank you for joining me today, and until next time, keep exploring the beauty of music!