History of Conventional Santoor
The Santoor is an Instrument with approximately 100 strings which originated in the Himalayan Valley of Kashmir. Originally known as “Shata Tantri Veena” (Sanskrit version of one hundred strings), which has close relatives in British and American “Hammer Dulcimer”, Chinese “Yang Chin” and the east European “Cimbalom”.
Santoor, which originated from Vedic “Vana Veena”, is characteristic of Kashmir Valley and is neither seen or played any where played. The “Vana Veena” also had strings and was played with sticks. In the orient the fundamentals of this instrument is no doubt very ancient. It seems that the origin goes back to Assyrians and Babylonians.
An instrument, which at the same breath could give the audiences a feel of melody and rhythm naturally, had much to offer in terms of musicality. The emergence of Santoor as a popular Indian classical instrument has of course been due to the presence of stalwart Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. However, its roots are necessarily from the Durbars of Sufi heretics of Kashmir, where its folk origins were interspersed with Hindustani classical music.
How does it sound?
.The acoustic Santoor consist of finely finished trapezium shaped box, with metal strings running across the top. The strings are usually grouped in three strings per note, called course. Each of the courses is supported by a small bridge, which alternate either side of the top. Each course sounded by striking it with a pair of wooden mallets. Usually the tonic (can be mentioned as pitch) of the conventional Santoor is D (440) and it resonates the beautiful melodic sound which has similarity with Jaltarang, Xylophone and Harp. It always attracts listeners by its captivating sound quality and so for that it has widely used in film music of India.