Sarangi
suh-ran-gee
Strings Instrument
The sarangi is a string instrument of Asian origin that uses three played melody strings and up to 37 unplayed sympathetic strings to create sound. Most sarangi are approximately 30 inches long and the player has the sarangi sit upright while using a bow to produce vibrations.
History of the Sarangi
The sarangi has many common instrument ancestors throughout history but was first developed to widespread popularity in the 19th century. It is a folk instrument thought to have been created in either Nepal or India where Indian classical music was becoming more popular and accessible outside of the nobility. It’s body resembles that of a Western viola or an Asian ancestral instrument, the sarinda - a North Indian lute. The bowed sounds reflected the flexible tones and tunes of the human voice which is why the sarangi came to the fore in traditional folk music and for ceremonial purposes. In Nepal, narrative folk tales were expressed by musicians with a sarangi right into the 20th century, when these bards were compared to ‘singing newspapers’. The sarangi soon became popular in Hindustani classical music but also in modern Nepali folk music.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£250 - £600

Hear the Sarangi

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How to Play

A stringed instrument played by bowing the strings to create sound.

In Popular Music

This stringed instrument is not heavily featured in western popular music but has been featured in Bollywood. Bollywood films in which a sarangi is played are numerous but include Talaash (2012) on "Piya Re Piya Re" and Lekin (1991) on the song 'Yaara Sili Sili'

Famous Players

Ram Narayan, Sultan Khan

Close Relations

Dilruba, Esraj
Video Credit: darbarfestival
Understanding the Sarangi
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India/Nepal

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18th century

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Strings

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