The Sarangi comes from the family of folk fiddles and used in Hindustani music. It is a bowed instrument of North Indian music. It was popularized in the mid-17th century and was used to accompany vocal musicians. It retains its role even today but to a great extent it has also been replaced by the harmonium.
The Sarangi comprises squat, truncated body. It has a sound board of goat skin like Sarod’s. It’s got three main playing strings made of heavy gut. These are bowed. Sarangi has addition 30-40 metal strings beyond these which help the instrument to produce its distinctive sound.
The playing strings of the Sarangi are stopped with fingernails of the left hand. It’s popular because of features like, its adaptability quality to a wide range of musical styles; its tenability; it’s able to produce a wide range of tonal nuance, and so on The Sarangi also has a unique and amazing capacity to imitate the inflections of the human voice.
A good Sarangi is carved out of a single piece of Tun hardwood, and measures between 64 and 67 centimeters in length. It has three melody strings, made of gut and around thirty-five metal sympathetic strings for providing an echo.
These strings pass over and through an elephant-shaped bridge that is made of ivory or bone. This bridge rests on a leather strap that protects the instrument’s goatskin face.
The bow is made of rosewood or ebony, mainly contributing to the vocal quality of the Sarangi’s sound. The instrument’s tone and playability are largely determined by its placement and contouring of the bridges, the thickness height of the strings, and the fitting of the pegs.
The art of crafting as well as playing good Sarangi is a complex skill that require experience. Traditionally these have been passed within clans from father, grandfather or uncle to the children.