Santoor

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The santoor is a string chordophone instrument of Asian origin that is played using small hammers to strike the strings. It has a range of approximately three octaves. The santoor has up to 72 strings that are struck with a hammer to create sound. It is typically placed on the lap of the player and has a trapezium or trapezoid shape.
History of the Santoor
The santoor is an ancient Asian instrument that is often also called a hammer dulcimer due to its common heritage with similar instruments of its kind. The earliest known depiction of a hammer dulcimer-like instrument appears in the early 12th century where wall engravings depict King David playing the instrument. Other sources from the 15th century suggest ottoman musicians also played the instrument and this is where we first see it documented as being played in Iran. The santoor became part of musical tradition in countries like Iran, Iraq and Turkey where it is still commonly associated and played. The santoor as we know it today is thought to have been invented in Iran. Other common ancestors of the santoor include the psaltery, cimbalom and persian santour that all developed on the trapezoid string design with string arrangements and tunings that changed through history. Today the santoor is most popular in Hindustani classical music but has had some limited use in popular music of the 20th century.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£400 - £1,200

Hear the Santoor

Audio of the Santoor is Coming Soon

How to Play

A stringed instrument played by striking the strings with hammers to create sound.

In Popular Music

The santoor may be uncredited on popular music recordings like 'Norweigian Wood' and 'Within You Without You' by The Beatles as they sought an indian influence on their music.

Famous Players

Shivkumar Sharma, Tarun Bhattacharya

Close Relations

Hammered Dulcimer, Harpsichord
Video Credit: WORLD DRUM CLUB
Understanding the Santoor
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