Type: Cordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Tuning: G / C / C / F
Country: India & Bangladesh.
Region: South Asia.
Description: The dotara or dotar [in Bengali: দোতারা, Assamese: দোতাৰা] the literal translation is “two strings, or having two strings] it is a fretless plucked stringed instrument having two, four or sometimes five strings. Somewhat resembling a sarode although with a narrow tapered profile.
Etymology: The term is from Persian: دو تار [do târ] literally “two wires”, with the Bengali-Assamese suffix -a “having, -ed”. The instrument is known as dotara or dütara [in Bengali: দোতারা, in Assamese: দোতাৰা] and dütüra [in Assamese: দোতোৰা].
The dotara played in Assam, Bangladesh, West Bengal & Bihar. The dotara dates back to the 15th – 16th century when it was adopted by the ascetic cults of Bauls and Fakirs. The name dutar is also applied to a lute in Central Asia although these instruments are not directly related despite sharing the same name. The dotara played in accompaniment with drums and percussion instruments such as the Dhol, Khol or Mandira.
Construction: The body, neck and tuning pegs are constructed from neem wood [Azadirachta indica] or other hardwood. Having an elongated profile that tapers to a narrow neck. Often carved with ornamental head stocks that feature either a peacock-head, swan-head or other animal motif. The fingerboard is fretless and made of brass or steel, as in a sarod. The sound box of the instrument is covered with a tightly stretched kidskin or lizard-skin.
Citations: Banglapedia article [dotara].