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For the Indian instrument, see Santoor.
Persian Classical Santur.jpg
Classification Stringed, Struck
Playing range
Santur Range.png
Related instruments
Hammered dulcimer
Sadeghi-Dehlavi-Concertino for Santur.
Woman playing the santur in a painting from the Hasht-Behesht Palace in Isfahan Safavids state, 1669
Ancient Babylonian Santur Drawing of Relief

The santur (also santūr, santour, santoor) (Persian: سنتور‎‎) is a hammered dulcimer of Iranian origin.[1][2] The term Santur originated with meaning "100 strings."[1]


The oval-shaped Mezrabs (mallets) are feather-weight and are held between the thumb, index and middle fingers. A typical Persian santur has two sets of bridges, providing a range of approximately three octaves. The right-hand strings are made of brass or copper,[3] while the left-hand strings are made of steel.[4] Two rows of 9 bridges[clarification needed].[clarification needed] A total of 18 bridges divide the santur into three positions. Over each bridge crosses four strings tuned in unison, spanning horizontally across the right and left side of the instrument. There are three sections of nine pitches: each for the bass, middle and higher octave called behind the left bridges comprising 27 notes all together. The top "F" note is repeated 2 times, creating a total of 25 separate tones in the Santur. The Persian santur is primarily tuned to a variety of different diatonic scales utilizing 1/4 tones which are designated into 12 modes (Dastgahs) of Persian classical music. These 12 Dastgahs are the repertory of Persian classical music known as the Radif.[citation needed] They also had 16 inch botos.


Similar musical instruments have been present since medieval times all over the world, including Armenia, China, Greece, India, etc. The Indian santoor is wider, more rectangular and has more strings. Its corresponding mallets are also held differently played with a different technique. The eastern European version of the santur called the cimbalom, which is much larger and chromatic, is used to accompany Romani music.[5]

Notable santur players[edit]


Santour players from other cultures[edit]

(Greek Santouri)

India (see Indian santour)




  • (Dr. Bee Seavers) disciple of Pt. Shivkumar Sharma

Santurs from around the world[edit]

Versions of the santur or hammered dulcimer are used throughout the world. In Eastern Europe, a larger descendant of the hammered dulcimer called the cimbalom is played and has been used by a number of classical composers, including Zoltán Kodály, Igor Stravinsky and Pierre Boulez, and more recently, in a different musical context, by Blue Man Group. The khim is the name of both the Thai and the Khmer hammered dulcimer. The Chinese yangqin is a type of hammered dulcimer that originated in Persia. The santur and santoor are found in the Middle East and India, respectively.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Farrokh, Kaveh (2007). Shadows in the desert : ancient Persia at war (1. publ. in Great Britain ed.). Oxford, UK: Osprey. p. 286. ISBN 9781846031083. 
  2. ^ "Santur is a hammered dulcimer, consisting of a trapezoidal box with horizontal strings, played with oval shaped featherweight mallets known as mezrab.". Art Max Academy. 
  3. ^ "Bass strings made of Brass or Copper". Art Max Academy. 
  4. ^ "Different kinds of Steel exist". Art Max Academy. 
  5. ^ Kenrick, Donald (2010). The A to Z of the Gypsies (Romanies). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8108-7561-6. 
  6. ^ Kiani, Majid. "Master of the Santur". Santur Master, Teacher & Performer. 
  7. ^ Khan, Mohammad Sadeq. "One of the oldest Santur Masters". Master of the Santur. 
  8. ^ Shahi, Ali Akbar. "Santur master". Old school santur player. 
  9. ^ Khan, Hassan. "Santur Master". Old school Santur Master. 
  10. ^ Malek, Hussein. "Santur master". Old School Santur Master. 
  11. ^ Somai, Habib. "santur master". Old school Santur master. 
  12. ^ Varzandeh, Reza. "Santur Master". Unique Style of Playing. 
  13. ^ Shafieian, Reza. "Saba's Student". Santur Master. 
  14. ^ Sarami, Mansur. "Santur Master". Old School Santur player. 
  15. ^ Shaari, Masoud. "Santur Master". Old School Santur Master. 
  16. ^ Khan, Mohammad Santour. "Oldest Santur Master that we have proof of". Master of the Santur. 
  17. ^ Safvat, Daryoush. "Santur Master". Old school Santur master. 
  18. ^ Akhbari, Jalal. "Old School Santur Master". Master of the Santur. 
  19. ^ Arfa, Atrai. "Santur Player". Santur Soloist. 
  20. ^ Hashemi, Azar. "Female Santur Player". Santur Soloist. 
  21. ^ Aslani, Susan. "Female Santur Player". Santur Soloist. 
  22. ^ Ali Pour, Manijeh. "Female Santur Player". Old School Santur Player. 
  23. ^ Tani, Dr. Masato. "Japanese Santour Player". Ethnomusicology. 

Further reading[edit]

Heydarian, P.; J.D. Reiss (2005). "The Persian music and the santur instrument" (PDF). Proceedings of Sixth International Conference on Music Information Retrieval, London, UK. 11. pp. 524–527. 

External links[edit]