Classical

Name: Saranghi [Classical].
Type: Bowed Lute > Chordophone.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Tuning:
Country: India & Pakistan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The sārangī [Hindi: सारंगी, Punjabi: ਸਾਰੰਗੀ, Urdu: سارنگی‎, Nepali: सारङ्गी] is a bowed, short-necked string instrument from India, Pakistan & Nepal. It is is used in Hindustani classical music. In its range the saranghi is said to be very close human voice. It is able to imitate vocal ornaments such as murki [rapid ornamentation] and meends [portamento or sliding movements].

Etymology: It is been commonly explained often as a portamento of two words “seh” [meaning “three” in Persian] and “ranghi” [meaning “coloured” in person]. However the most common folk etymology is that sarangi is derived from ‘sol rang’ [meaning – a hundred colours] indicating its adaptability to many styles of vocal music, its flexible tune-ability and its ability to produce a large palette of tonal colour and emotional nuance.

Repertoire: The repertoire of sarangi players is traditionally very closely related to vocal music. Nevertheless, a concert with a solo sarangi as the main item will sometimes include a full complete performance of a raag featuring an extensive alap. While through the performance of the raga the intensity increases to [alap jor & jhala]. Including several compositions performed in bandish near the completion of the raga.

Playing Technique: The three main playing strings – the comparatively thicker gut strings – are bowed with a heavy horsehair bow and stopped not with the fingertips but with the nails, cuticles, and surrounding flesh. Talcum powder is applied to the fingers as a lubricant. The neck has ivory or bone platforms on which the fingers slide.

Construction: Carved from a single block of tun [Indian red cedar / T. ciliata] wood. The saranghi is built up from three major components being the pet [stomach] chaati [chest] and magaj (brain). The height of the saranghi is usually around 2 feet [0.61 m] long and around 6 inches [150 mm] wide though it can vary.

The lower resonance chamber or pet is covered with parchment made out of goat skin on which a strip of thick leather is placed around the waist. Then the same strip of thick leather is nailed on the back of the sound-chamber. Thus supporting the elephant-shaped bridge that is made of camel or buffalo bone usually made of ivory or Barasingha bone originally but now that is rare due to the ban in India.

On the inside is a chromatically tuned row of 15 tarabs and on the right a diatonic row of 9 tarabs each encompassing a full octave, plus 1–3 extra surrounding notes above or below the octave. Both these sets of tarabs pass from the main bridge to the right side set of pegs through small holes in the chaati supported by hollow ivory/bone beads.

Between these inner tarabs and on the either side of the main playing strings lie two more sets of longer tarabs, with 5–6 strings on the right set and 6–7 strings on the left set. They pass from the main bridge over to two small, flat, wide, table-like bridges through the additional bridge towards the second peg set on top of the instrument.

Citations: Saranghi.info [site] ; Collections – Metro Museum Saranghi 19th Century.