Santoor: Characteristics, history, and price of the ethnic musical instrument


Santoor is a percussion instrument peculiar to Iran. It is played by hitting it with a lightweight wooden stick-shaped plectrum made by finely carving a morus alba or walnut tree called Mezlab. It’s a very rare instrument, so many people don’t know it. It is known to have a very wide range and has a range of 3 octaves. It is an instrument that is often used in BGM for TV, commercials, movies, etc. I rarely hear it in songs like pop music.


This instrument originated in Persia, Türkiye, and Iran. It is a percussion instrument in which two drumsticks are used to strike a wide string, often used as a dulcimer. It is also widely distributed in Europe.

Origin of the name

Santoor is a Persian word meaning 100 strings. Santoor is a famous instrument for its wide range. You can express a range of 3 octaves.

How much does it cost?

You can buy a santoor for around 3,000 yen to tens of thousands of yen.

History of Santoor

Santoor first appeared in the 14th-century manuscript Kashuf al-Gumm. Documents have been found that the Syrians call the instrument known as Qanun in Egypt “sanṭīr”. Later, it was discovered that Santoor was played by a court musician of the Ottoman Empire. In the middle of the 20th century, the spread of Santoor was confirmed in India as well. It was used as the main instrument of Sufi music. It is now the leading solo instrument of North Indian music. In this way, Santoor gradually became popular, and now it has become an instrument used in television, commercials, movies, animation, and so on.

Features of Santoor

Santoor is played by striking a walnut trapezoidal box with a large number of metal strings and a lightweight wooden stick-shaped plectrum called Mezlab, which is made by shaving quail and walnut trees. It is an instrument in which four 18 to 24 courses of metal strings are stretched in one course, and one movable piece is set up for each course. Since Santoor is a percussion instrument that sits and hits, it is not suitable as a standing instrument. Therefore, it is common to place the instrument on the performer’s lap or stand.

Santoor song

Santoor is rarely used in popular songs. It is often used in music such as BGM, and may be heard on TV, commercials, movies, etc. Or it is a percussion instrument that often appears in healing music.


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