The Sarangi is probably Hindustani classical music’s most beloved ancient instrument, known for its soulful sound that transports the listener to a peaceful state-of-mind.
The name ‘Sarangi’ literally means the instrument of ‘one-hundred colours’ (sau + rang in Hindi and Urdu) and today, this bowed instrument is performed by very few.
Being able to imitate the human voice is a desirable characteristic in Hindustani music and all instruments, the Sarangi is said to resemble it the most. Sarangi is often performed as an accompaniment to the voice, but it is also popular as a solo instrument.
Carved from one piece of wood, the Sarangi is a compact bowed instrument with a skin stretched across the lower box upon which the bridge, which supports around 40 strings, rests. Only 3 of those strings are actually bowed, with the rest being tarabs, a set of ‘sympathetic’ strings that are tuned to each musical note, vibrating when the main strings are played.