Resources for teaching myself to play the santur
July 24, 2006 12:48 AM   Subscribe

What are good resources for teaching myself to play the santur? I'm an American composer with no training in Persian music -- just a deep love for it and a gradually improving (self-taught) structural understanding of it. My "more inside" lists some ideas I've had so far, but I would love to hear any suggestions of CDs, websites, books, etc., on Persian music and/or the santur.

I'm writing this question because I finally got my hands on a cheap santur and am waiting (probably a while) for it to arrive in the mail! I've been transcribing excerpts from my favorite solo santur recordings and I plan to learn a lot from transcribing, playing back by ear, and doing many kinds of improvs myself.

But what are the websites and books I should be reading? Are there instructional CDs or DVDs for the santur? What are your favorite audio CDs featuring santur? If I can't find santur-specific instructional materials, would it be useful to adapt/study materials on American hammered dulcimer just for the physical technique? (If so, what are your favorites?)

Finally, I would welcome suggestions of santur teachers (I have very limited resorces, so I could not afford steady lessons, but I would love to do at least a little bit of training in person). Ideally these would be in my home city of NYC, but they could also be in any other city, because I do travel some. If you can give me an idea of their rates, I'd love to hear it, but I understand if you'd rather not.

Thanks for any thoughts!
posted by allterrainbrain to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is generally considered the leading Indian exponent of the instrument. You can find a lot of his recordings at Music Today. His son, Rahul Sharma also plays the instrument.
posted by sk381 at 1:36 AM on July 24, 2006

Thanks for the suggestion -- I'm actually focusing on the Persian, not the Indian instrument. Different instruments, and very different musical/playing traditions. Some of the most important Persian players I've discovered are Manoochehr Sadeghi, Alan Kushan, and Nasser Rastegar-Nejad (whose gorgeous CD "In a Persian Garden" was my initial inspiration to learn about Persian music years ago).
posted by lorimer at 2:31 AM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: Oops -- in case you're confused by the first-person writing there, the preceding comment (2:31 AM) was written by me, the original poster (allterrainbrain). It just got posted under the name of my still-logged-in friend (lorimer).
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:39 AM on July 24, 2006

Oh! I had assumed that both the instruments would be pretty much the same, with the difference being only in the vowels in their names.
posted by sk381 at 2:53 AM on July 24, 2006

Best answer: Yahoo Santoor group.

posted by zaelic at 5:53 AM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: The Indian style is beautiful too. One of the coolest things about this family of instruments is how many vastly different tunings and playing styles you can find used with basically the same instrument -- from Hungarian/"gypsy" cymbalom to American hammered dulcimer to Persian to Indian to Chinese... to the European clavichord (and its descendants are the harpsichord and then the piano). And all of this started in the middle east with the santur!
posted by allterrainbrain at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: I will keep reading this thread and if anybody has any input, I would love to hear it......
posted by allterrainbrain at 11:56 PM on July 26, 2006

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