Inspired by the hypnotizing beauty of the sound, a poet exclaims:
Sarangi? No, because of its innumerable beautiful tone colours,
it is verily the ‘Saurangi’– Meaning full of hundreds of colours".
to Indian musicological tradition the Sarangi comes under
the generic name Veena indicating the entire complex of stringed
The name Sarangi occurs in prominent
musicological works like Sangita Ratnakar (13thC) Sangita
Raja, Sangita Parijata, Sangita Narayana and others. This
shows that the instrument must have been in vogue a few centuries
earlier, than the 13th. A still earlier Veena called the Pinakini
Veena bears a striking resemblance with Sarangi.
Its description shows that it was played with a bow held in
the right hand and the hair of the horsetail in a bunch was
used in its formation. The body of the instrument was made
out of a wooden block carved hollow and was covered with parched
skin. The Pinakini Veena had gut strings and no frets. This
could be logically accepted as a forerunner of the Sarangi.
The present Sarangi is the major
bowed instrument of North India. Its body is carved out of
a single piece of hard wood. The hollowed lower portion is
covered with goatskin, the middle with wood to form a finger
board and the top is a box with fixed pegs. It is played with
the belly portion resting either on the ground or on the player’s
lap. The Sarangi has 35 to 40 sympathetic strings providing
a sonours resonance along with three main gut strings. Skillfully
sliding the bow on the gut strings produces the basic sound
for producing the specific notes of the melody, these are,
unlike any other musical instrument, stopped side ways with
the cuticles of the fingers.
The Sarangi has the unique distinction
of being closest to the human voice in richness and melody,
affording intense emotional expression.
Sarangi is an ideal instrument
to accompany vocal music and eminently suited for solo performances.