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Kashmiri Santoor Music

Santoor is considered as the family member of most early recognised musical instruments of Bharat known as “Veena”. If you go through the history of music all over the world, it would be found that musical idea, various types of terms and different types of instruments of any one country is followed by another. Shatatantri Veena well known in Kashmir is deeply related with the music of temple from very earlier times. Since this was already related to the Shaivites, this has taken a major role in preparing Kashmiri Sufi music. Similarly, majority of the Veena’s along with Shatatantri or Santoor were related to music of temple and was not considered the part of folk music. It maintained its dignity and status in the culture of music which was known by classical music, also within the Sufi music termed as ‘Sufiana Kalaam’ in the valley of Kashmir. In fact, instruments resembling to Santoor having various names are well liked in the music of Hungary, North Africa, Iran, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and China etc. however, amongst all these instruments like Santoor, there exist various types of tone, number of strings, playing techniques, instrument designing and size and shape of relevant strikers. In Santoor, the middle part has a great importance for the purpose of playing the instrument. It could be tuned according to the necessity of ragas of classical music or Sufiana music Mugam. A key tuner known as Dokur in Kashmir or hammer prepared of iron is applied to tune the keys which are made also from the same material. While playing Santoor, the performer performs in sitting posture as is found in playing all other classical instruments of India.

Structure & Technique

The commonly found Santoor within India is a type of box in trapezium shape and prepared from seasoned wood obtained from mulberry tree having situated in seventy five degrees acute angle each stretching from left to right.

In Sufiana Santoor, it is observed that parallel sides confronting to the performer become twenty to twenty-one inches long approximately in one is to two ratios while other two sides are also twenty to twenty-one inches long. The depth of the box is around four to four and half inches. The inside of the box is hollow and resonance is being created within it when the instrument is played. On earlier occasions, the strings were prepared from gut and flax while nowadays this copper/steel and brass is being used. Strings in the Santoor are fitted on the shaft stretching from left side to right side and operated with the help of keys located on the right part of the musical instrument. Among the group of 4 strings, insertion of a small bridge is being done. The length of the bridge becomes a bit longer than the planks found over the shaft which is generally one inch long. In this way, one hundred strings are fitted over twenty five bridges and every group consisting of four strings are being tuned into to 1 note and accordingly, the tuning of the instrument is being done. The note sound is generated with the help of the striker known as Kalam which is six inches long.

Sufiana Gharana & Sopori Baj

The traditional music of Sopori family has been found to be multidimensional. Members of each family treat music both as the means of worship and profession and become specialized in both vocal and instrumental styles. The Kashmiri Sitar and Santoor being their inheritance were practiced by them with the help of Raga Sangeet and Mugam-Gayaki in Sufianan. Actually, in the decades of forty, Prof. S. N. Sopori, the musicologist of Kashmir and the veteran musician at the time of playing the Santoor stretched the length of the Santoor bridges from twenty five to twenty eight inches on the advice of Pandit S. C. Sopori, his beloved father. He shifted the “Pancham of Mandra Sapatk” also from the right side to left and produced Pancham on the Saptak Tar. In this manner, the extension of Santoor versatility and adoption of genuine “Tantrakari Ang” in Sitar had taken place.

Reaching J&K

In the event you become interested to arrive in the state of J&K from any other place of India, all sorts of transportation like roadways, railways and airways are available to you. The Jammu and Kashmir can be reached through railways when large numbers of trains are available from other main cities of India.

In case you are willing to get the taste of some adventurous experience of road journey from any other place of India, in that event you can avail National Highways that would serve your purposes. These excellent highways connect the J&K and other places of India.

Availability of airways is also there from all main domestic airports situated in India to the airports located in Leh and Jammu. There is one international airport at Srinagar where foreigners can come directly to J&K valley.

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