Wood and Lacquer
Tambura, Or Tampura
Mughal, circa 1800
Materials and technique
Teak wood, a calabash, metal and bone
length 126 cm
The tambura is a long-necked four-string plucked drone lute, traditional in both northern and southern India, and is found both in art and in classical music. The example here is certainly a northern instrument, and is comparable to a sitar (lit., “three strings” in Persian), with a three-part resonator including a gourd or calabash. The tambura is used by both women and men, but men's instruments tend to be over 130 centimetres long. It provides the drone, but can also be plucked in a regular ostinato pattern, providing a rhythmic background. The special drone effect comes from the flat bridge or jawari.
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