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Setar is a Persian musical instrument with an interesting story. It has a pear shaped body. Although the word "setar" means three strings in persian, a modern setar has four strings. First setars had three strings but 150 years ago a fourth one was added by a famous setar master Moshtagh Ali Shah. The fourth string gave Persian Setar a better sound and players a possibility of more complex tuning alternatives.

Setar's body consists of two parts; a soundbox and a long neck. The box is usually made of walnut or mulberry  while neck is made of walnut wood. There are twenty five frets on the long neck. All of them are made of gut. The sound box has a strong resonance which produces the harmony of the notes. The harmony of the sound that master players are able to achieve is the key aspect of this instrument.

Historical Background of Setar

Setar is an ancient instrument of Persian classical music. It is the predecessor of Khorasan Tambur, which is accepted as the ancestor of all lutes in Eastern culture. Although it had three strings originally, the fourth was added in order to adapt the sound to spritiual music. Not only numbers of strings it had but the technique of playing Persian setar had also been changed during the past three decades. The new generation of setar masters not only changed the playing technique but also changed the sound quality of Persian music.


Sound Performance of Setar

Setar's soundbox is covered with thin wood and its long neck is completed with four strings. It has a wide melodic range which is very distinguishing. Its range is almost more than twenty scale degrees. Traditionally it is played with the right hand's index finger nail. But performers of Persian Setar have introduced new techniques in this century. Their brave attitude towards setar gave it a whole new meaning. The left hand playing technique with other aspects including the shape covered with relatively thin wood improved the sound.

You may also like: How to Tune a Setar


Contribution Of Setar To Persian Music

In modern Iran, Setar is considered to be the supreme instrument of Persian classical music. However, it was almost forgotten during the nineteenth century. It took almost 100 years to gain its popularity back. During that era, the increased popularity of other instruments shadowed the reputation of Setar. However, the new enthusiasts of Persian music started perform with Setar again. In the late 1970s, new generation of classical music performers explored Setar's power and brought it back to public attention once again.

You may also like: Guide to Persian Music- All About Persian Music

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All the Persian Setar models sold in stores are handmade. Most of them are made of metal strings and some of them have strings made of animal's intestine. They are the products of excellent craftsmen. If you are looking for buying a convenient Persian Setar with a fair value please visit our store in İstanbul or check our online catalogue. A wide variety of Setars for every taste exist in our catalogue. Different sizes, for various expectations can be found in our store and online catalogue.

For further information please see our Setar Collection


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