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Images from The Beede Gallery

Long-Necked Lute (Sitar), Northern India, ca. 1900-1970

NMM 1812.  Long-necked lute (sitar), Northern India, ca. 1900-1970 Side view 1 Side view 2 Back view

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NMM 1812. Long-necked lute (sitar), northern India, ca. 1900-1970. Hollow neck with nineteen movable metal frets attached to a gourd resonator. Eighteen strings: four melody strings strung over the fretboard, three rhythm strings on the right side, and eleven sympathetic strings under the frets. The rounded frets allow the melody strings to be pulled up a perfect fifth in pitch on each fret; an important technique in sitar playing. Another demanding technique is the use of the rhythm strings, which are played, in addition to the melody strings, at extremely high speeds, in a wide variety of rhythmic patterns. The characteristic sound of the sitar is a result of the "buzzing" caused by the specially shaped bridge, the jawari, and the ringing of the sympathetic strings, which are tuned to the notes of the piece being played. The sitar is one of the predominant instruments in Hindustani music. Board of Trustees, 1977.


Views of Pegs

Pegbox, front view Side view 1 Side view 2 Back view


Views of Gourd Resonator

Resonator, front view Back view of resonator Lower end of resonator


Close-up Images of Bridges and Hitchpins

Bridges Hitchpins


Literature:  Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, The Shrine to Music Museum Catalog of the Collections, Vol. II, André P. Larson, editor (Vermillion: The Shrine to Music Museum, 1982), p. 15.

Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, M.M. Thesis, University of South Dakota, May 1983, p. 30, plate XII.

André P. Larson, The National Music Museum:  A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 29.

"Sitar," The Music Connection, Level Four (Parsippany, New Jersey: Silver Burdett Ginn, 1995), p. 308.

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