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Surbahar [ s̪urbəhɑːr ] ( Hindi सुरबहार ) is a plucked long neck lute that is played in North Indian classical music . The surbahar is a larger and deeper sounding version of the sitar ("bass sitar"). It is tuned about a fourth or fifth lower than the sitar .

The surbahar was invented in the 1820s by the sitar player Ghulam Muhammad in Lucknow and is one of a number of instruments introduced in the 19th century: around 1800 the rabāb, which was popular in the Mughal era, became the sursingar and around 1860 the Afghan rubāb became the sarod developed.

Since the surbahar , like the vina, has a longer aftertaste than the sitar , it is mostly used in the old majestic dhrupad style for the alap introducing a raga . In other Indian musical styles, however, the surbahar hardly plays a role. There was never any industrial standardization of the shape of the instrument and there is a wealth of different sizes, equipment and designs.


  • Alastair Dick: Sūrbahār. In: Laurence Libin (Ed.): The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Vol. 4, Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2014, p. 654

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