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General Information on the Sarod

Next to the Sitar, the Sarod is the most well-known and most important Indian stringed instrument of classical northern Indian music. Particularly Sarod players such as Ali Akbar Khan have made the Sarod known beyond the borders of India in the west.

CONSTRUCTION AND CHARACTER OF THE SAROD

Toon wood which is stained and then treated with a shellac finish is usually used for making a Sarod.

The Sarod has a chrome-plated, fretless metal fingerboard as well as 4 melody strings, 4 drone strings, 2 Chikari strings and 15 sympathetic strings. The lower tailpiece and the upper resonator are made of polished brass.

PLAYING TECHNIQUE

The playing strings of the Sarod are struck or plucked with a pick made of coconut shell while the player sits cross-legged and the instrument is placed on the lap. This special kind of pick and the striking technique that is used, make a wide range of differentiated rhythmic striking variations possible. The strings are not pressed onto the fingerboard with the fingertips like in violin playing for example, but with the tip of the fingernail. In this way the typical metallic echoing sound of the Sarod is produced. This is intensified by a continuous gliding of the fingernail along the string on the fretless fingerboard. Thus the ornaments and micro-intervals are produced that are so typical and essential in Indian music.