A 92-string instrument, deriving from ancient Mesopotamia. The proof of its earliest use comes from Assyrian and Babylonian stone carvings, dated around 669 BC, which show the instrument being played whilst hanging from the player’s neck. Later on, the Santur spread around the Arab, Asian, and North African world, resulting in modified versions originating in each country. The Santur is one of the main instruments used until now in classical Iraqi Maqam, alongside the Joza.

The instrument represents a hammered dulcimer which is said to be of Mesopotamian origin. It is a trapezoidal box zither that has a walnut body and 92 steel strings, which are tuned to the same pitching groups of four and are struck with the use of two wooden or metal mallets. The tuning of these 23 sets of strings extends from the lower yakah to the upper jawab husayni.

(The name of the instrument is derived from the Greek psalterion that, itself, is the result of musical experiments done by Pythagoras based on the 6000 years old bull-headed lyre that was discovered from the excavation found in the ancient city of Ur. The musical instrument is thought to have gotten its name from the ‘Sant’ – ‘Ur’, which means sound of Ur in Sumerian. The musical instrument is mainly used in Iraq, as well as Azerbaijan Pakistan, turkey, India and Iran).



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