History and Facts about Santoor Music Instrument. Santoor is a very old string melodic instrument that originates from Jammu and Kashmir, India. A prehistoric ancestor of this kind of instruments was discovered in Mesopotamia during the period 1600 to 911 BC. The Santoor instrument is a hammered dulcimer instrument, designed with the shape of a trapezium, often prepared from walnut wood, with 72 strings. The unique-formed mallets are frivolous and they are held between the index finger and the middle finger. A usual Santoor instrument contains two sets of bridges, offering an array of three octaves. There are Santoor instruments that are designed in the shape of a rectangle and can contain additional strings than the Persian equivalent, which usually has 72 strings.
History of the Santoor Music Instrument
Santoor is an extremely antique musical instrument of India. Nowadays, when people say Veena, it denotes a particular instrument, but during ancient times Veena was a general word for dissimilar types of string instruments. The original string instrument was known as Pinaki-Veena. The thought to make this instrument originated from the bow and arrow while arrow was released, it made a sound. From that thought, someone shaped a musical instrument and called it as Pinaki Veena. Pinak means a bow in the Sanskrit language. In the Western Nations, this instrument is known as the Harp and in India, a small form of the equivalent instrument called “Swarmandal” that several current vocalists employ while singing. Subsequent to Pinaki Veena, in Antique India, there were the emergence of different types of Veenas, such as Katyayani Veena, Baan Veena, Rudra Veena, Tumbru Veena, Saraswati Veena, and Shata-tantri Veena.
In antique Sanskrit manuscripts, the Santoor instrument has been mentioned as Shatatantri Veena, which means a Veena with 100 strings. The Santoor instrument was employed as an accessory instrument in the folk music of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The instrument is played in a unique style called the Sufiana Mausiqi. The Sufi spiritualists exploited it as an accessory to their songs.
Growth of the Santoor instrument
The trapezoid structure of the Santoor instrument is usually prepared from either maple or walnut wood. Sometimes, the bottom and top boards of the instrument can be either veneer or plywood. On the top plank, bridges, made of wood, are positioned, so as to seat extended across the metal strings. The strings, grouped in three or four units, are attached to pins or nails on the left hand side of the Santoor instrument and they are extended over the sound plank over the bridges to the instrument’s right side. On this side, there are changing tuning pins or pegs, made of steel, which allow adjusting each string unit to a preferred musical note or a pitch or a frequency.
Method of playing the instrument
The Santoor instrument is played by sitting in an asana known as Ardha-Padmasana pose and keeping it over the lap. When playing the instrument, the wider side is placed nearer to the waist of the performer and the smaller side is placed away from the performer. The instrument is played by means of a pair of light mallets or hammers, made of wood by means of both hands. The Santoor instrument is an extremely delicate one and is extremely sensitive to light glides and strokes. The strokes are played on the strings at all times either nearer to the bridges or a bit away from bridges. Both styles cause dissimilar tones. Occasionally, strokes through one hand can be muted by means of the other hand by making use of the palm face just to produce variety.