orig. Iran The santur is a struck zither, also known as a hammer dulcimer. It has a flat trapezoidal body with 72 strings arranged so that three strings are struck at the same time to play each tone. The player uses two delicate felt-covered hammers called mezrab to strike the strings. The virtuoso santur player produces light, glistening tones by striking the instrument with speed and precision.
The earliest predecessors of the modern santur may date back to 1600 B.C.E. A key component of traditional Iranian music, the instrument is played both solo and in improvisatory mugham ensembles.