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Veena or vina

Early history

Initially used as a name for any chordophone, ancient "veena" were musical bows with increasing strings such as these later developed into Harp veena like yazh and the burmese saung gauk.
concordantly, short necked lutes originating from graeco-buddhist northwestern gandhara province. these where played standing but held variously, pearshaped pipa-like lutes appear in peninsular India, these were played sitting or standing. kaccapi vina is believed to be lute-type.

Medieval Stick Zither

Medieval Stick Zither type veena. gradually replacing the previous harp and short-neck lute type, many folk instruments are these. principal types are alapini vina, ekatantri vina, and kinnari vina.

Folk Stick Zither

Of note is tuila, kullutna rajan, and also the jantar, which are Folk Stick-zithers

The Bīn

Fretless Stick Zither

The Vicitrā vīṇā is the northern fretless instrument, it is a Stick Zither, but this is actually of the hybrid bīṇ sitār type: it has a wide neck (about 10 cm) which is D shaped with the sympathetic strings' pegs set in the side. The neck ends in an integrated wood resonator, often carved like a peacock's head, in some cases it is smaller and pear-shaped, in others it is larger like the sitar's. The hollow neck has two large bottle-gourds screwed into the back. The main strings are tuned in descending 4th and 5ths, the slider (baṭṭā) is a glass egg.

Saraswatī Vīṇā


Fretless Gourd-lute

Chitra vina is..


Modern Veena


Bowed Chordophones

Table of Veena:

Cell 1 Cell 2
jantar jantar_rajasthan.png
rudra veena veena_rudra.jpg
vichitra veena veena_vichitra.jpg
saraswati veena veena_saraswati.jpg
chitra veena Cell 2
hansa veena
original indian slide guitar
mohan veena mohanveena.jpg
sitar wd en mb

hindustani sitar seems to have more in common with large uzbek dutar wd en mb than persian setar wd en mb
sitar and souther tambura wd en MB! (how relates to drone tanbura? wd en mb) to be evolved from the dutar?
Kinnari vina develped into Sarasvati vina[1]
sitar has frets, tambura not
terms "fretted and unfretted tambura" used to distinguish between sitar and fretless drone taMbura

sursotta (transportable drone tambura)

other sitar types: (distribution and related features suggest a common development)
carnatic sitar
kashmiri setar
afghan tanbur
gujarati sittarae(poss)

most common: Hindustani concert sitar aka tarafdar sitar (single gourd and double gourd)

has sympathetic strings, this is mostly commonly just called sitar and is the standard made

kachva sitar muhammad khan developed the surbahar from this, name probably a ref to the part of the gourd its used from.

kachva sitar Cell 2
surbahar wd en mb
effectively a bass sitar. invented c1820 by ghulam muhammad
Cell 2
tanpura aka tambura aka tanpur (etc) tanpura.gif
Afghan rubab wd mb
(Kabuli rebab)
Seni rebab wd mb Cell 2
Sursingar wd en mb hybrid plucked north indian classical lute invented c1800 by jaffar khan (seniya family)

resonator, front and bridge from sitar, upperpart of neck/pegboard like the rabab, tuned and played like rabab, plectrum like sitar.

(clearly this is a sitar/rabab hybrid)
sarod wd en mb sarod_i.gif
swarabat wd en jira
sarod from the south
Chikara wd en jira chikara.jpg
kamayacha wd commons mb! kamaicha.gif
pulluvan veena wd ge mb! pulluvan-veena.gif
Cell 1 Cell 2
taus taus.gif

Dilruba is a compacter, mobiler instrument, is based on the heavier Taus[2]

Guru Gobind Singh

a kind of cross between sitar and sarangi, it is a modern variant of dilruba[3]
Ishwari Raj

(how is related to svaraj?)
sarangi wd en mb

hindustani classical music

there might be other types
sarinda wd en jira
Related to other folk fiddles like qobuz, saroz, sorud, surando, surinda, sareja, svaraj, banam, nepali sarangi.
nepali sarangi wd en MB!(?)
Type of lute, evolved from the Boat-shaped rabab (kabuli rabab)
Cell 1 Cell 2
Cell 1 Cell 2


  • taus/mayuri veena/b
  • yazh
  • saung/saung-gauk/

Mayil Yazh[4]

Vil Yazh[5]
saung gauk saunggauk.gif