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Instruments

Instruments

Rubab

Fretless lute, always with sympathetic strings, played in southern Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Santur

Trapezoidal zither whose strings are struck with light wooden mallets. The santur has ancient roots in Iranian culture and is also played in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, as well as in Kashmir. Struck zithers exist in many cultures under a variety of names, and with different numbers of strings configured in a variety of tuning systems. Well-known examples include the American hammer dulcimer, Hungarian cimbalom, and Chinese yangqin.

Satar

Uyghur bowed tanbur. See: sato-tanbur

Sato

Bowed tanbur, or long-necked lute, now rare, played by performers of Tajik-Uzbek classical music.

Sato-Tanbur

Long-necked lute with 5 strings that may be bowed (sato) or played with a plectrum (tanbur). The top string is fingered to provide the melody while the other strings serve as drones. Used principally by performers of Tajik-Uzbek classical music (maqom).

Setar

Badakhshani long-necked fretted lute with wood-covered deck, 3 steel melody strings, and a variable number of sympathetic strings that provide a drone background to the melody strings.

Soku

Traditional West African horsehair fiddle.

Sybyzgy

Among the Kyrgyz, a side-blown flute traditionally played by shepherds and horse herders, made from apricot wood or the wood of mountain bushes.  The sybyzgy has its own repertory of solo pieces, known as kuu, which are distinguished by their lyrical content.

Tabla

Pair of hand-played, tunable drums that is the principal percussion instrument in North Indian classical music, also used since the middle of the 19th century in the Kabuli art music tradition. The bayan (“left”) is a metal kettle drum whose pitch is modulated by pressure from the heel of the hand on the drum skin. The table or dahina (“right”) is a wooden drum whose skin can be tuned to a precise pitch.

Tämbur

Uyghur long-necked plucked lute, similar to Uzbek-Tajik tanbur. The Uyghur tämbur is probably the longest of all Central Asian lutes, at around 150cm, with 5 metal strings plucked with a tiny metal pick (nakhala) strapped to the index finger.

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