an indepth look

The history of Santur

The santur, a mesmerizing and ancient musical instrument, traces its origins back to the distant past. Believed to have been born in Persia over 2,500 years ago, it has a rich history steeped in Persian and Middle Eastern culture. Initially crafted with wooden or metal strings stretched across a trapezoidal soundboard, the santur was traditionally used in royal courts and religious ceremonies.

 Over time, its popularity spread throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and India, adapting to regional styles and materials. In the modern era, innovations like tuning systems and amplification have transformed the santur into a versatile and cherished instrument. Today, it continues to enchant audiences worldwide with its ethereal tones and cultural significance.


how it is made

Crafting a santur is a meticulous and time-honored process. Typically, the instrument is constructed with a rectangular wooden frame, often walnut or rosewood, that serves as the resonating body. A series of evenly spaced bridges are affixed atop this frame. Across these bridges, multiple sets of strings, often around 72 in total, are stretched.

 Each string is meticulously tuned to a specific pitch, with the player's desired scale in mind. Traditionally, the strings were made of silk, but contemporary santurs may feature steel or brass strings for enhanced durability and resonance.

Craftsmen painstakingly adjust the tension of each string, ensuring precise tuning, while also considering regional variations in tuning systems. The final touch involves attaching decorative elements, such as painted designs or inlays, to enhance both the instrument's aesthetics and acoustics. The result is a splendid and harmonious instrument, celebrated for its resonant sound and cultural significance.


The sound of Santur


The sound of setar


How it is played

Playing the santur is a skill that demands both dexterity and artistry.The musician employs two lightweight mallets, often crafted with wooden or padded heads. Seated behind the instrument, they strike the strings with a delicate touch, producing melodic and rhythmic patterns.

The musician can vary the intensity and angle of the strikes to create a wide range of tones and textures. To achieve intricate melodies, they use a combination of striking techniques and finger damping, muting or sustaining specific strings as needed.

The santur's diatonic layout and chromatic tuning enable musicians to explore diverse musical scales, making it a versatile and captivating instrument in various musical traditions.

Shop for Santur

Shop now for handcrafted Santurs!

Serving Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)