Swarmandal – History & Info

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Swarmandal is an Indian Harp,a popular North Indian instrument. It is a type of an Indian stringed instrument used as the drone to accompany the vocalists. It is a traiditonla instrument and is used in many traditional Hindu and Muslim rituals.

The Swarmandal has ability to produce a large number of notes hence the name swar-mandal is given to it. It has been used for many generations, dating back to the pre-Mogul era.

Swarmandal is between twenty four to thirty inches in length and twelve to fifteen inches in width. The musician may use any number of strings from 21 to 36 depending upon the raga he is playing.

The strings are hooked in the nail lodged in the right edge of the instrument and on the left, twirl around rectangular pegs which can be tightened with a special key.

Swarmandal is mostly used by Khayal singers. Stringing or tuning a Swarmandal involves trial and error. The Swarmandal’s stringing latitude is so great that there is very little error. It is more about individual taste.

A sharp half-inch ridge is built on both sides of Swarmandal a little apart from the nails on which the strings are tightened. This ridge is used as bridge on both sides. There is no standard size Swarmandal, since number of strings is never standard. Another reason is that different individuals will sing from different keys, thus the tunes of the Swarmandal, which every musician tunes individually, is unique from the other

Tuning is very simple, but you must first know two things.  You must know what key that you sing in, and the raga you are going to perform. You can sart the tuning with the lowest string and work your way up.

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