Type: Fretless Lute > Chordophone.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Region: South Asia.
Description: The sarod or sarode [सरोद, সরোদ] is a stringed instrument used mainly in Hindustani music. Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments. The sarod is known for a deep, weighty, introspective sound, in contrast with the sweet, overtone-rich texture of the sitar. With additional sympathetic strings that give it a resonant, reverberant quality. It is a fretless instrument able to produce the continuous slides between notes known as meend (glissandi), which are important in Indian music.
Origins: From an organological perspective the sarode is a descendant of the Afghani rebab its closest 19th century relative the sursingar a similar instrument although much larger in size.
Development: The conventional sarode has 17 to 25 strings. Four to five main strings are used for playing the melody. One or two plucked drone strings [chikari], and nine to eleven sympathetic strings. The design of this early model is generally credited to Niyamatullah Khan of the Lucknow Gharana as well as Ghulam Ali Khan of the Gwalior-Bangash Gharana. Among the contemporary sarod players, this basic design is kept intact by two streams of sarod playing. Amjad Ali Khan and his disciples play this model, as do the followers of Radhika Mohan Maitra. Both Amjad Ali Khan and Buddhadev Dasgupta have introduced minor changes to their respective instruments which have become the design templates for their followers.