The Sitar Diaries-Genesis&Evolution

The sitar is a string-instrument which is primarily played in Hindustani and Carnatic modes. It has strings made with steel and the sound is produced by striking at the strings while wearing an implement called a mizrab and simultaneously flexing the right hand palm open or shut whereas the left hand presses down on a particular wire.


The conception of the Sitar is largely been attributed to Persian sources with the earliest sitars being inspired from a Persian instrument called a se-tar i.e 3 strings.Over the years it has been customized to suit the prevailing movements in music in the Indian subcontinent with Amir Khusrow being credited with it’s present form.

A sitar can have 18,19 or 20 strings of which 6 or 7 (corresponding to the octaves) are strung over raised, curved frets. The remainder of the strings run under the main strings and resonate and enhance the melody. They are often played separately as well to add emphasis or a different pitch to the music.

This is how a sitar is typically held-

It takes a bit of getting used to but in time your legs stop feeling like you’re on pins and needles and the heady feeling of strumming a a vibrant note takes over everything else and you’re on your way to a little slice of heaven!

Play on!

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