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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dilruba (also spelt dilrupa)[1] is a bowed musical instrument from India. It is slightly larger than an Esraj and has a larger and square resonance box.

Woman playing the Dilruba.
Woman playing the Dilruba.

It was popularised in the west in the 1960s by artists like The Beatles in their psychedelic phase, for example on tracks like 'Within You Without You'.


Dilruba was created some 300 years ago by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who based it on the much older, and heavier, Taus[1][2] This made it more convenient for the Khalsa, the Sikh army, to carry the instrument on horseback.[3]

Construction Style

The structure of the Dilruba has a medium sized Sitar-like neck with 20 heavy metal frets. This neck holds on a long wooden rack of 12-15 sympathetic strings. The Dilruba has four main strings which are bowed. All strings are metal. The soundboard is a stretched piece of goatskin similar to what is found on a Sarangi. Sometimes the instrument has a gourd affixed to the top for balance or for tone enhancement. The instrument can be rested between the knees while the player kneels, or more commonly rested on the knee of the player while sitting, or also on the floor just in front of the player, with the neck leaning on the left shoulder. It is played with a bow with the other hand moving along the strings above the frets. The player may slide the note up or down to achieve the portamento, or meend, characteristic of Indian music.[4]


  1. ^ a b Dutta, Madhumita (2008). Let's Know Music and Musical Instruments of India. Star Publications. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-905863-29-7.
  2. ^ Dharam Singh (2001). Perspectives on Sikhism. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 158. ISBN 978-8-1738-0736-7.
  3. ^ "Rarely played Indian instruments". 29 March 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Dilruba". Discover Sikhism. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 October 2020, at 01:26
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