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Sitar

The goddess of Indian Instrument and perhaps the most popular is Sitar. This is a stringed instrument of the lute family. Sitar is well known in the northern India and neighboring countries i.e. Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal.

This instrument was invented in the 18th century by a fakir namely Amir Khusrow as stated in the “Sangeet Sudarshana.” Amir Khusrow was the son-in-law of Tansen being the fifteenth descendent of Naubat Khan.

 It is a long neck instrument with fascinating construction with the shadow of a pear shape gourd body.  It can be played both front and sideways. It is inhibited with twenty strings in which every string has a function to perform. There are five playing strings, two drone strings which help adding the effect of rhythm or pulse and the other remaining thirteen strings which are tuned to the notes of raga. These strings are the melody framework of sitar. The frets are movable by cords of metal are being connected to the tun-wood neck of the sitar. This musical instrument is used during the Indian Classical music and the Hindustani music and is played with the folk dances.

Sitar is believed to have gained some of its properties from Veena, an ancient instrument which gained its importance during the pre-historic period when we were a slave to mughals.

Various well known and famous Gharanas (sitar groups) are kharaj-pancham, gandhaar-pancham, bishnupur. Two modern schools of sitar playing in India are the Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan schools, each of them with its own style. The sound produced in sitar is made through an old instrument Setar having multiple chambers. This can be made through producing sound as when you try to strum its strings; a vibration is transmitted out of the instrument by amplifying the vibration producing sound.

The famous and well-known players of Sitar are Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan, Shahid Parvez and Nishat Khan who had a top-most role in making Sitar a prominent instrument of India.