HISTORY OF THE SANTOOR:
In the beginning of the 20th century, Santoor entered the Indian classical arena of Music. There were about 50 different shapes and varieties of Veena during the ancient period. Especially, there is a reference of an instrument called ‘Baan’ in Rig-Veda. It was used in ‘Sama-gayan’. The literary meaning of word Baan is hundred stringed Veena which is also called ‘Shat-tantri Veena.’
There is a difference of opinion about the origin of Santoor among scholars. Some scholars believe that the Santoor arrived from Iran (Central Asia) to India but most agree that it is derived from the ancient Indian instruments. Santoor is popular instrument in Kashmir since ancient period especially in Sufiana Mausiqi. Sufiana Mausiqi is not folk music instead it is similar to Indian classical Ragas. The use of Santoor in Sufiana Mausiqi especially in Makam (vocal) is since time immemorial.
In traditional Sufiana santoor, there are 25 bridges. On the left side, steel strings are being used and on the right side brass strings are being used. There are 4 strings on each bridge which makes it 100 stringed instruments.There are similar instruments to Indian santoor in the world also. To name a few:
Salterio (Maxico), Santur (Iran), Khim (Laos), Hackbrett (Germany), Tympanon (France), Hammarharpa (Sweden), Hammered Dulcimer (USA) and the list goes on.