Type: Fretless > Lute > Chordophone.
Region: India > South Asia.
The sursingar is a fretless plucked lute that made
its appearance in the 19th to 20th centuries. The sursingar is extinct
nowadays although there are a couple musicians who performed on it
notably Baba Allaudin Khan (the guru of Ravi Shankar). The sursingar was
primarily used to play the "alap" of the raga. The performer then would
switch to another instrument depending on repertoire. This instrument is
usually available through custom orders as there are a couple performers
playing this instrument today.
The body of the instrument is made of wood unlike
its later derivative the sarode. Both of these instruments share their
origins with the rebab. Like the sarode friction tuning pegs are mounted
to the head stock and the the fingerboard is cut and polished from sheet
metal like its sarode counter part. Four main playing strings and four
chikari (rhythmic drone) strings who are usually made of brass instead
of gut on earlier instruments. These modifications resulted in the
increase of resonance.