Santoor (Santur, Santour): Hammered Dulcimer

Contact Info
Mathematics Info
Resources and Links

Tonbak (Peyman) and Santoor (Pooyan)

A brief about hammered dulcimers with special focus on Persian santoor and some of famous santoor players of Iran

Santoor also spelled as santour or santur is the Persian hammered dulcimer. Hammered dulcimers with a trapezoid-shaped sound-box are played with special-shaped mallets (mezrab). Actually Persian santoor players hold them between the index and middle fingers.

A typical Persian santoor has two sets of bridges (in Persian kharak), providing a range of approximately three octaves. The right-hand strings are made of brass, while the left-hand strings are made of steel. Two rows of 9 bridges and over every bridge, four strings pass and therefore a typical santoor has 72 strings.

Similar forms of the santoor have been present in many cultures like Armenia, Turkey, and Iraq for centuries. The Indian santoor is thicker, more rectangular, and can have more strings. Its corresponding mallets are also held differently. The Chinese yangqin may have originated from the Persian santoor. The Roma people introduced a derivative of the santoor called the cymbalum to Eastern Europe, which in turn likely led to the development of the clavichord and the piano. The Greek santouri is also derived from the Persian santoor. One can mention hackbrett played in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well.

Probably the antiquity of hammered dulcimers goes back to Assyrian and Babylonian times.

Some Hammered Dulcimer Links

Maestro Reza Varzandeh

Maestro Majid Kiani

Maestro Parviz Meshkatian

Hammered Dulcimer Group - HDG: This group is for all those instrumentalists interested in the hammered dulcimers. This group has been established by Pooyan Nassehpoor, the moderator.
Dulcimer Players and Their Instruments: This is a very nice website, created by Dr. David Kettlewell. He has done a very interesting doctoral thesis, 'The Dulcimer' (1976).
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma: Website is devoted to promote ever increasing interest & awareness of Indian santoor throughout the world.
Pandit Ulhas Bapat: Website of Indian Santoor Master.
The Nonsuch Dulcimer Club: The Nonsuch Dulcimer Club is a UK based organisation for anyone interested in Hammered, or Mountain Dulcimers.
Jim and Kathie Hudson Hammered Dulcimer Website: J&K Hammered Dulcimers offers an ever expanding line of quality products in addition to their  individually hand-crafted hammered dulcimers.

Gillian Alcock: Dulcimers from many traditions; dulcimer, cimbalom, Hackbrett, salterio, santoor and sandouri.
Jem Moore: Jem Moore has been performing, teaching and promoting hammered dulcimer for many years.
Dulcimer Players News (DPN): Since 1975, Dulcimer Players News (DPN) has guided players, builders, and dulcimer enthusiasts on their musical journey. Devoted to both hammered and fretted dulcimer with tunes, tips for beginners, reviews, instrument care and repair, interviews, festival information, dulcimer history, and more.
Tom Strothers' Dulcimer Website: Info of Mountain and Hammered Dulcimer by Tom Strothers (Web Designer)

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Dr. Peyman Nasehpour


Official Website of Dr. Peyman Nasehpour - Mathematician and Musician