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The sarangi is musical instrument. It has strings and a short neck. The musician plays it using a bow. It is played in traditional Punjabi folk music, Rajasthani folk music, and Boro folk music in India. It is also common in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Nepal has a different musical instrument that is also called sarangi. The instrument is also called 'Shatarangi' because of the flexibility of the sound, the many musical styles, and the many tones and emotions it can make.

History[change | change source]

Surjeet Singh tuning his Sarangi

The sarangi is named after the bow of Lord Vishnu. The word sarangi is a combination of two words: seh ('three' in Persian) and rangi ('coloured' in Persian) or Persian sad-rangi, sad for 'hundred' in Persian ('hundred coloured) corrupted as sarangi. The term seh-rangi represents the three melody strings. However, the most common folk etymology is that sarangi is derived from sol rang (means 'a hundred colours'). The name Solrong indicating its adaptability to many styles of vocal music, its flexible tunability, and its ability to produce a large palette of tonal colour and emotional nuance.

The Nepali Sarangi is also a traditional stringed musical instrument of Nepal, commonly played by the Gaine or [Gandarbha ethnic group. In Nepal, Sarangi is viewed as an iconic musical instrument to identify the Gandarbha people.

Description[change | change source]

The sarangi is an instrument used mainly in North Indian music by the archer or the bow. The instrument became popular in the mid-seventeenth century as a percussion instrument in folk music. It still maintains its status. The instrument also plays an important role in accompanying the harmonium.

It has a mysterious ability to mimic the tone and timbre of a human voice, along with emotional expression.

References[change | change source]

  • Bor, Joep, 1987: "The Voice of the Sarangi", comprising National Centre for the Performing Arts Quarterly Journal 15 (3–4), December 1986 and March 1987 (special combined issue), Bombay: NCPA
  • Magriel, Nicolas, 1991 Sarangi Style in North Indian Music (published Ph.D. thesis), London: University of London, available on
  • Qureshi, Regula Burckhardt, 1997: “The Indian Sarangi: Sound of Affect, Site of Contest”, Yearbook for Traditional Music, pp. 1–38
  • Sorrell, Neil (with Ram Narayan), 1980: Indian Music in Performance, Bolton: Manchester University Press

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