The sarod is a lute-like stringed instrument of Indian origin. Like the sitar, it’s a popular and prominent instrument in Hindustani classical music. The instrument is known for its deep, introspective sound, which contrasts nicely with the sweet texture of the sitar. The absence of frets allows players to glide easily from one note to another. This is known as meend, which is essential in the performance of Indian music.
Here are a few more interesting sarod facts. It’s likely the sarod descended from the Afghan rubab, a similar instrument with roots in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The word sarod means “beautiful sound” or “melody” in Persian, one of many languages spoken in Afghanistan.
How many strings are there? On a conventional instrument there are 17 to 25. Four to five main strings are used for playing the melody. There are also one or two drone strings, two chikari strings, and nine to eleven sympathetic strings. The strings are made of steel or phosphor bronze, and are usually plucked with a triangular hand-crafted coconut shell plectrum called a Javva. Some players prefer plectrums made of ebony, cocobolo wood, horn, or cowbone.
More Sarod Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a sarodist.
Notable sarodists include Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, Abhisek Lahiri, Sharan Rani, K. Sridhar, Aditya Verma, and James Whetzel.
Indian Classical Ragas
Amjad Ali Khan
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Performed by Amaan Ali Khan
Indian classical musician and composer Amaan Ali Khan explains the construction, techniques, and performance of the sarod. He’s a seventh generation Sarod Master, and was just eight years old when he gave his first public performance. Amaan is the son of Amjad Ali Khan and often performs with his younger brother Ayaan Ali Khan, with whom he hosted the music talent show Sa Re Ga Ma. He’s widely considered one of the finest players in the world, with fans on many continents.
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Maharaja Sarod with Tumba – Ali Akbar Khan Style
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