The Persian chromatic Santour




The Iranian Chromatic Dulcimer (Santour)


As the writer proposed, the Iranian chromatic Dulcimer was designed and made by Mr. Daryoush Salari. The musical instruments like this were made in different sizes by other makers too. The musical instruments in this set have been made in two different sizes which include all chromatic intervals (semitone) in four octaves. These instruments look similar to the Iranian Dulcimer physically and the only difference is to set bridges and Clough angels. As we mentioned, setting bridge of this instrument is based on semitone chromatic intervals so that we are able to play that in 3 and a half octaves and in total two musical instruments were used in this set with capacity of performing four octaves of chromatic intervals in all chromatic and diatonic steps. Each instrument has thirteen bridges in each side and which and each of main three performing scopes includes one complete octave of chromatic intervals. The fourth performing scope of these instruments, playing musical sounds in several basic bridges is possible. Thus, as mentioned before, each instrument has capability of performing three and a half octaves of chromatic intervals. Performing scope of the Iranian chromatic dulcimer is as follows:
1-yellow side

2-white side

3-behind white bridge

4-behind yellow bridge
Considering performance possibilities and variety in size, larger or smaller musical instruments can be made in design and making stage so that performing scopes shall be more than four octaves. Performance scopes of each instrument designed in this set is as follows:
The performance scope of first chromatic Iranian dulcimer

Santour tune 1

The performance scope of second chromic Iranian dulcimer

Santour tune 2

To make performance easier, bridges in use are dark; Bemol and Diez bridges are light.
The Iranian chromatic dulcimer has the capacity of performing all kinds of classical music and it has no limit to perform modulation. Considering the type of bridges, this instrument is not very suitable to play the Iranian tuning system. Although some of bridges can be tuned with the Iranian intervals and played in the Iranian tuning system, the main goal of designing and making this instrument is to arrange and perform some classical music with a completely Iranian and eastern tune.
One of the problems to perform the Iranian chromatic dulcimer is its high resonance that there is no pedal, the sounds of the previous accords remain in the next accord in some modulations which it may not be pleasant. Designing one or two pedals to control the remaining sound tunes and or use of schemes to decrease the tune may reduce this acoustic problem in some extent. However, this musical instrument is in the basic stage of design. And it requires long experience in the future.


In this collection, the classical works of ten famous Iranian composers have been arranged and performed by these two instruments; with regard to the limits and ease of performance, better chords, some of these works have arranged and performed in the different diatonic scales. In the hope that performance of these kinds of works may introduce much more capabilities of this Iranian instrument in the classical and world’s music and also I hope that the acoustic problems of this instrument would have been best removed in the future and the players may perform their works by this instrument the best. Finally, I need to appreciate the efforts made by the venerable artist, Mr. Daryoush Salari who have uninterruptedly supported us in making this Iranian chromatic dulcimer and assisted with removing many problems so that this collection is prepared.
Alireza Javaheri