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Understanding the construction and purpose of each element of the instrument is critical inorder to play the instrument. Since there aren’t many learning resources available to play the instrument, you’ll most likely need a teacher to guide you through the process of learning Santoor. Handling of the instrument and basic sargams are usually taught to the students initially. Having a positive mindset towards the history of the instrument helps in appreciating and thereby learning the instrument faster.
ipassio hosts some of the most authentic practitioners of santoor from India as teachers. This can help you learn the instrument in the most detailed and effective manner. Teachers from various gharanas including Maihar and Patiala offer lessons live to students via video conferencing. Students at the comfort of their homes can avail these lessons. Students from all levels of difficulty, be it beginner or intermediate, the teachers can customize the course that suits the needs of students.
Fundamentals of the instrument along with basic exercises like chandams and ragas are taught to students in the beginning. Students will further learn the proper posture, positioning, and handling of instruments to ensure every note is played clearly. Following which, sargams and tuning will be covered once the students are comfortable with the instrument. Students will also be taught how to tune the instrument which requires them to have a keen ear for music. Teachers will further guide them through detailing on Sur and Tala.
As with many different instruments, Santoor too has been developed under various cultures. It is believed that Persian santur is the direct predecessor of Santoor. Santur originated in Mesopotamia around the 4th century CE. The first written record of Santur was in Persian history texts and poetry around the 10th century. Persians have been believed to brought Santur to Kashmir Valley, which resulted in Kashmiri santoor. Up until the 20th century, it was considered a folk instrument. In Jammu and Kashmir around the 1950s, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma adapted the santoor for North Indian classical tradition.