Santur: Persian Musical Instrument

Literally meaning "hundred strings," this instrument has had a long and prestigious history, and in its many avatars is an important instrument throughout the musical world.


The Persian version is a trapezoid-shaped wooden-box made of aged walnut with strings passing from one end to the other over small bridges. There are two types of strings used: the steel strings which pass over the bridges at the left are the high notes and the brass strings which pass over the bridges at the right are the low notes. Each note is produced by striking a set of four strings which are tuned in unison. There are nine sets of strings of each metal on each side. The sets are divided by adjustable bridges altogether. The wires are hit by two thin hardwood mallets called Mezrabs, held between the thumb, index and middle fingers, and manipulated by the controlled wrist movement.