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Unveiling the Mysteries of Santoor Tuning: Mastering Harmonies and Melodies (part -1)

Title: Mastering the Art of Santoor Tuning: A Comprehensive Guide


Namaste everyone! Welcome to my blog. My name is Ashwin Walawalkar, and I am a renowned Santoor artist. Today, I am here to share my insights on the fascinating world of Santoor tuning. The Santoor is a captivating instrument with a rich history and unique sound. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, understanding the art of tuning is crucial for unlocking the true potential of this instrument. So, let's dive into the intricacies of Santoor tuning and explore the different techniques used to achieve harmonious melodies.

The Standard Tuning: D Scale

The Santoor is traditionally tuned to the D scale. To begin with, we need to locate the fifth bridge from the top, which corresponds to the note "sa," or D. For beginners, using an electronic tuner is highly recommended. This device accurately detects the frequency of each string, making the tuning process easier and more precise.

The Tuning Process:

  1. Place the tuner on your soundboard, ensuring a stable connection.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the components: the tuning key and tuning pins. These are crucial for adjusting the tension of the strings.

  3. Starting from the top, tune the fifth bridge (sa) by plucking the first string. Observe the tuner's display. If the frequency indicator is on the right side (red), it means the string is tuned higher than the desired note. To adjust, reduce the tension of the string. If the indicator is on the left side, the string is tuned lower, and you need to increase its tension by using the tuning pin and key.

  4. Continue this process for all three strings, ensuring each one is accurately tuned to the D note. The tuner's green light will indicate when the string is perfectly tuned.

Achieving Different Notes:

The Santoor offers a wide range of melodic possibilities by tuning different strings to achieve various notes. Let's explore the process of tuning the pa note, which corresponds to the A note in the D scale.

  1. Using the same technique as before, locate the fifth bridge from the D note, which is pa.

  2. Pluck the first string and adjust the tension until the tuner indicates the correct frequency.

  3. Repeat this process for the remaining strings, ensuring all three strings are perfectly tuned to the pa note.

Diatonic and Chromatic Tuning:

In the world of Santoor, two primary tuning methods are commonly used: diatonic (raga-based) tuning and chromatic tuning.

  1. Diatonic Tuning: This method involves tuning the instrument based on specific ragas or melodies. Each raga has a unique set of notes, providing a distinct flavor to the music. Mastering diatonic tuning requires a deep understanding of different ragas and their corresponding notes.

  2. Chromatic Tuning: In contrast, chromatic tuning focuses on achieving a Western chromatic scale, which includes all twelve notes within an octave. This approach allows for more flexibility in playing a wide range of music genres and styles.


Tuning the Santoor is an essential skill that every aspiring musician should develop. It lays the foundation for creating beautiful melodies and exploring the instrument's vast potential. By understanding the standard D scale tuning, using electronic tuners, and exploring diatonic and chromatic tuning methods, you can embark on an exciting musical journey with the Santoor. So, keep practicing, embrace the nuances of this enchanting instrument, and let your melodies resonate with the world. Happy tuning!

(Note: The blog has been restructured and rewritten to provide a clear and informative guide for music learners interested in Santoor tuning.)

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