Santur

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Description

The Santur (Persian: سنتور‎) , is a hammered dulcimer of Iranian or Mesopotamian origins. The santur was invented and developed in the area of Iran and Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). “The earliest sign of it comes from Assyrian and Babylonian stone carvings (669 B.C.); it shows the instrument being played while hanging from the player’s neck” . This instrument was traded and traveled to different parts of the Middle East. Each country customized and designed its own versions to adapt to their musical scales and tunings. The santur originated in the country that is known today as Iran. The original santur was made with tree bark and stones, and strung with goat intestines. The Mesopotamian santur has been claimed to be the father of the harp, the Chinese yangqin, the harpsichord, the qanun, the cimbalom, and the American and European hammered dulcimers.
The oval-shaped Mezrabs (mallets) are feather-weight and are held between the thumb, index, and middle fingers. A typical Persian santur has two sets of nine bridges, providing a range of approximately three octaves. The mezrabs can either be made out of one piece of wood, or tipped with velvet.
The right-hand strings are made of brass or copper, while the left-hand strings are made of steel. A total of 18 bridges divide the santur into three positions. Over each bridge cross four strings tuned in unison, spanning horizontally across the right and left side of the instrument. There are three sections of nine pitches: each for the bass, middle and higher octave called behind the left bridges comprising 27 notes altogether. The top “F” note is repeated twice, creating a total of 25 separate tones in the santur. The Persian santur is primarily tuned to a variety of different diatonic scales utilizing 1/4 tones which are designated into 12 modes (dastgahs) of Persian classical music. These 12 Dastgahs are the repertory of Persian classical music known as the Radif. They also had 16 inch botos

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