The chitravina, is a 20 or 21-string fretless lute for Carnatic music played mainly in South India today, though its origins can be traced back to Bharata's Natya Shastra, where it is mentioned as a 7 string fretless instrument. It has undergone numerous developments and is today among the more prominent solo instruments in Carnatic music. It is also often seen in collaborative world music concerts and north-south Indian jugalbandis.

The approach to tuning is in some ways similar to the sitar; in other ways it is similar to the Saraswati veena, but in many ways it is unique. It is played with a slide like a Hawaiian guitar and the north Indian vichitra veena. The first two fingers on the right hand are usually used with plectra to pluck the metal melody strings while a cylindrical block made out of hardwood (often ebony), buffalo horn, glass, steel, or teflon held by the left hand is used to slide along the strings to vary the pitch.