The Iranian Setar, also known as the Persian Setar, is a stringed instrument that holds great significance in Persian traditional music. Belonging to the tanbur family of long-necked lutes, the instrument is a type of lute with a range that spans over two and a half octaves.
It is primarily used as a solo instrument, but it is also commonly employed to accompany vocal performances. Originally, it was a three-stringed instrument; however, by the mid-19th century, a fourth string was added, enhancing its melodic capabilities.
Playing this traditional instrument involves a distinctive technique. The instrument is plucked using the index finger of the right hand, allowing for nuanced and intricate melodies to be produced. The musician’s dexterity and control over the strings create a mesmerizing sound that is characteristic of Persian traditional music.
The Setar holds a significant place in Iranian culture and is deeply cherished for its ability to evoke emotions and convey the essence of Persian musical traditions. Its elegant design, with a small body and a long neck, reflects the craftsmanship and artistry of its makers.
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Traditional Iranian Instrument