Tar String Instrument

Tar String Instrument

Tar (Persian: تار‎) is an Iranian long-necked, waisted lute family instrument, used by many cultures and countries including Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan ( Iranian Plateau) and others near the Caucasus and Central Asia regions. The older and more complete name of the tār is čāhārtār or čārtār, meaning in Persian “four string”, (čāhār frequently being shorted to čār). This is in accordance with a practice common in Persian-speaking areas of distinguishing lutes on the basis of the number of strings originally employed. Beside the čārtār, these include the dotār (دوتار, “two string”), setār (سه‌تار, “three string”), pančtār (پنجتار “five string”), and šaštār or šeštār (ششتار “six string”). It was revised into its current sound range in the 18th century and has since remained one of the most important musical instruments in Iran and the Caucasus, particularly in Persian classical music, and the favoured instrument for radifs. The body is a double-bowl shape carved from mulberry wood, with a thin membrane of stretched lamb-skin covering the top. The fingerboard has twenty-five to twenty-eight adjustable gut frets, and there are three double courses of strings. Its range is about two and one-half octaves, and it is played with a small brass plectrum. The long and narrow neck has a flat fingerboard running level to the membrane and ends in an elaborate pegbox with six wooden tuning pegs of different dimensions, adding to the decorative effect. It has three courses of double “singing” strings (each pair tuned in unison: the first two courses in plain steel, the third in wound copper), that are tuned root, fifth, octave (C, G, C), plus one “flying” bass string (wound in copper and tuned to G, an octave lower than the singing middle course) that runs outside the fingerboard and passes over an extension of the nut. Every String has its own tuning peg and are tuned independently. The Persian tar used to have five strings. The sixth string was added to the tar by Darvish Khan. This string is today’s fifth string of the Iranian tar.

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