From the sacred sub-continent of India flow the melodic sounds of one of the most unique and popular stringed instruments, the sitar. Music-lovers and musicians the world over have come to appreciate the sultry sonic stylings of sitar music.
This is only natural, as sitar music is a hallmark of these regions. One of the most famous sitar players is Ravi Shankar. A noted classical musician, Shankar even made appearances at non-classical events, such as the original Woodstock and 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival! However, it was his close friendship with the “Quiet Beatle,” George Harrison and his bandmates that really helped to popularize sitar music
Such memorable tunes as “The Inner Light,” “Love You To,” Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” as well as much of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, prominently spotlight sitar music. To get a real flavor for the world of sitar music, click on Sitars.net. Here, you’ll find a wide array of famous sitar players that have achieved respect, success and fame among their musical peers and music fans. Here are just a few:
Today, the music of the sitar, a relative of the lute, is experiencing a worldwide wave of popularity and respect, and in a variety of musical genres. While many accomplished Western musicians have taken to sitar music, the majority of sitar masters hail from Middle Eastern and Indian backgrounds. This is only natural, as the sitar is considered the signature instrument of these regions.
Throughout the Western Hemisphere and the world, there may be no more well-known a sitar musician than Ravi Shankar. Indeed, Shankar, a true trend-setter, helped to foster a healthy devotion to sitar music in George Harrison’ (and then the Beatles). Such memorable tunes as “The Inner Light,” “Love You To,” Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” as well as much of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, prominently spotlight sitar music.
Sitar music has played a memorable role in the oeuvre of such musical superstars as the Rolling Stones’ (on their mega-hit “Paint It Black”) and Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam.” Not bad for a traditional stringed instrument dating back to the Middle Ages!
But you may be wondering, just what exactly is the sitar? Musically, this plucked, stringed instrument, a close relative of the lute, produces a very rich and delicate sound. According to musical experts, the sound offers complex harmonic resonance.
Considered the signature instrument of Middle Eastern and North Indian classical music, sitars are constructed from specially seasoned wood and gourds. Typically, sitars have as many as four main strings, three or four drone strings and thirteen sympathetic, or resonating strings. However, sitar musicians may find a variety of instruments available today. For a more in-depth discussion of the construction and music of sitars, click on our Types of Sitars page.