General Information on the Shrutibox

Construction and Way of Playing

The Shrutibox, also called Surpeti, produces a sustained and resonant drone similar to the Harmonium. This instrument is very easy to handle and requires hardly any playing skills. It is mainly used for accompanying singing (overtone singing, chanting etc.). Its functioning is very similar to the harmonium, it does not, however, have a keyboard. On both sides of the instrument bellows can be released. The top of the opened bellows is pumped by hand. Inside the instrument, air is pressed through metal reeds which are set vibrating by this. They produce the appropriate sound when the corresponding valve on the outside of the instrument has been opened. 13 chromatic notes of an octave can be selected by opening the valves and thus make the adjustment to the singing voice possible. For a beautiful, sonorous sound it is recommended to select also the corresponding fifth of the keynote or the lower fourth. But you can also choose any combination of chords you like. When playing the note c, the octave is achieved by opening the 13th valve.

For playing, the two bellows that are concealed at the front and the back of the instrument have to be released. After that, the valves have to be released or opened by turning the white levers sideways. In doing this, a single drone or, by combining several valves, full chords can be produced. The pair of bellows that is opening out at the top is continuously pumped with one hand by which air gets through the body of the instrument and into the second pair of bellows. While doing this, the tone that you have defined by opening the valves, is resonating. You can control the volume a little by pumping more gently or more strongly. Because of the easy handling, you can play the instrument in any desired position, the small Shrutiboxes even while walking. You can run a shoulder strap through the upper handle of the instrument.

TARANG offers a 6 different Shrutibox models by the manufacturers Monoj Kumar Sardar and Paloma. Five models have a tonal range of 13 chromatic semitones from C to c each, which can be opened separately and thus can be combined in whatever way you like. The 3 Octave Shrutibox has a bigger tonal range from A# to a''. For details please see the corresponding product pages.

Please also have a look to our video samples which show
in how many ways you can use a Shrutibox »Video Samples

The Shrutibox models offered by us are tuned in India to the western standard A 440 Hertz. In our climatic conditions, the tuning is at a minimum higher 441 - max. 442 Hertz. Even a trained ear is not necessarily able to hear this and most of our musician clients can accept this minimal higher tuning. However, with instruments whose tuning can not be easily adapted, problems may arise. If this is the case, please let us know. If necessary, we can tune a Shrutibox to 440 Hertz for an extra charge. Other tunings which are far away from the 440 Hertz, such as the often requested 432 Hertz cannot be tuned. Sometimes we have this tuning on stock, if not it has to be ordered in India, In that case thewaiting period is several months. Just ask us if you would like to have a Shrutibox on that tuning. Maybe we have it on stock.