What Is A Sitar?

Are you curious to know what is a sitar? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a sitar in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a sitar?

What Is A Sitar?

The sitar is a mesmerizing and enchanting musical instrument that has captured the hearts and ears of people around the world. With its distinctive shape, intricate design, and evocative sound, the sitar stands as an emblem of classical Indian music and culture. In this blog, we’ll explore the sitar, its history, structure, and the captivating music it produces.

The History Of The Sitar

The sitar has a long and rich history dating back several centuries. Its origins can be traced to the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the northern regions. The name “sitar” is derived from the Persian word “seh-tar,” which means “three strings.” This is a reference to the instrument’s early form, which indeed had three strings.

The sitar underwent significant evolution during the Mughal era (16th to 18th centuries) when it was introduced to India. During this time, it adopted many features from Persian and Central Asian instruments, leading to its current design.

Sitar Structure

The sitar’s intricate design and distinctive appearance make it a work of art in addition to a musical instrument. Let’s explore its structure:

  1. Main Body: The main body of the sitar is typically made from a single piece of wood, often teak, mahogany, or tun. It has a pear-shaped resonator, which amplifies the sound, and a long neck.
  2. Pegs: The sitar features a set of pegs (tuning pegs) at the top of the neck, which are used to adjust the pitch of the strings.
  3. Frets: The neck of the sitar has 18 to 21 movable metal frets. Musicians can move these frets to produce different pitches and microtones, allowing for the characteristic sliding and bending of notes in Indian classical music.
  4. Bridge: The bridge of the sitar is a decorative wooden piece located near the lower end of the strings. It plays a crucial role in creating the unique buzzing or twangy sound that is a hallmark of the sitar’s timbre.
  5. Strings: The sitar typically has 6 or 7 playing strings and 11 to 13 sympathetic strings. The sympathetic strings run beneath the main strings and resonate sympathetically with them, creating a rich, ethereal quality in the music.
  6. Gourds: There are usually two gourds on the sitar – a larger one at the bottom, which is the main resonator, and a smaller one at the top, serving as a secondary resonator. These gourds contribute to the instrument’s distinct sound.

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Music And Sitar Playing

The sitar is primarily associated with classical Indian music, particularly in the Hindustani tradition. Renowned musicians such as Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan have popularized the sitar internationally, making it a symbol of Indian culture.

Playing the sitar is a complex and demanding art form that requires a deep understanding of Indian classical music. Musicians use a combination of finger techniques, string bending, and slides to produce intricate melodies and ragas. The sitar’s unique sound, with its rich overtones and emotive qualities, makes it a captivating instrument that can express a wide range of emotions.


The sitar is more than just a musical instrument; it’s a cultural treasure and a source of profound artistic expression. With its elegant design, intricate structure, and soul-stirring sound, the sitar continues to captivate audiences worldwide, offering a glimpse into the enchanting world of classical Indian music. Whether you’re an avid music enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of fine craftsmanship, the sitar is a piece of artistry and history worth exploring and cherishing.


What Is Sitar In Simple Words?

sitar, stringed instrument of the lute family that is popular in northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Typically measuring about 1.2 metres (4 feet) in length, the sitar has a deep pear-shaped gourd body; a long, wide, hollow wooden neck; both front and side tuning pegs; and 20 arched movable frets.

How Is A Sitar Different From A Guitar?

A sitar is different from a guitar in its construction, sound, and manner of playing. It has a large pear-shaped body and a longer neck. It has more strings that create a richer sound than an acoustic guitar. Unlike a guitar, chords are not normally played on the sitar.

What Is Sitar Made Of?

Sitar used by the Indian musician, Ravi Shankar. Made of teak, gourds (the two resonators), metal (the strings) and bone (the inlaid decoration). The sitar is a long-necked string instrument with both primary and supplementary strings, taughtened at the top of the neck by plugs.

What Is Play Sitar?

The sitar is usually played while seated, with the player holding the instrument at a 45-degree angle in the lap. The right hand is used to pluck the played strings with a metallic pick, called a mizraab. The left hand is used to create specific notes by putting pressure on or between the frets.

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