(سه تار)

an indepth look

The history of setar

Setar is a traditional Persian stringed instrument that has been an integral part of Persian music for centuries. Its exact origin is unknown, but it is believed to have been developed in the 18th century in Iran. The word "Setar" means "three strings" in Persian, and it is named after the number of strings it traditionally has.

Over time, it evolved into a four-stringed instrument as well. Setar was initially used as an accompanying instrument for vocal music, but it gradually gained popularity as a solo instrument. In the 20th century, Setar became more widely recognized internationally, and it is now considered a significant part of Iranian culture and music.


How it is made

Setar is traditionally made by skilled artisans using a combination of different materials. The body of the instrument is typically made from a gourd, which is hollowed out and covered with a thin layer of wood. The neck of the Setar is made from a piece of hardwood such as walnut, rosewood, or ebony, and it is hollowed out to create a resonating chamber.

The frets are made from gut or nylon, and they are tied onto the neck of the Setar. The strings of the instrument are made from silk or nylon, and they are attached to the tailpiece at the bottom of the instrument and wound around the pegs at the top of the neck.

The Setar is known for its delicate and intricate sound, and the unique materials used in its construction play a significant role in creating its distinct tone. Each Setar is handmade and unique, reflecting the skill and craftsmanship of its maker.


The sound of setar


The sound of setar


How it is played

Playing Setar requires a combination of skill, technique, and creativity. The player holds the instrument in their lap, placing the headstock on their right knee and the body on their left. The strings are plucked using the index finger of the right hand, while the left hand presses down on the frets to create different notes and tones. The Setar is a fretted instrument, which means that each fret represents a different note. The player can bend or slide the string to create different tonal variations.

The sound produced by the Setar is soft and delicate, and the player uses subtle changes in finger pressure and plucking technique to create the desired effect. Setar is often used as a solo instrument in traditional Persian music, and it is known for its expressive and emotive qualities.

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