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Introduction tanpura

Function of the tanpura

Tanpura history

Tanpura manual

The Miraj builders

Constructing a tanpura

Types of present day tanpuras








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Types of present day tanpuras

There are generally three main types of tanpuras; they are known as the Male, the Female and the Instrumental tanpuras. Their main difference lies in their size, because each has its own tuning preferences. The longest tanpura, the male, has the lowest tuning and the thickest strings. (For technical details of tunings and string sizes etc. see Manual). Slightly shorter in length and with a lighter choice of string thickness is the female tanpura. The instrumental tanpura, used for accompaniment of the instrumental performances, is about half the length of the male tanpura. All three types have a gourd as a sound box.

There are two main styles in building tanpuras in North India, namely those from Calcutta or those from Miraj. The Calcutta tanpuras are more finely finished, whereas the Miraj tanpuras, although not so delicately finished, have a beautiful deep rounded sound. It is this full-bodied sound that has made Miraj famous, and it is well known that the best tanpuras come from there.












In the South, Thanjavur is associated with the best tanpuras. Instrument makers have succeeded in creating small tanpuras with equally fine resonance.
The South-Indian or Carnatic tanpura is known as the Tanjore tanpura. The body is made from a complete full block of jackwood. South Indian tanpuras have a wooden tumba. Its bridge is made of bronze, unlike the Miraj models.

Tanpura types
Bajani tanpuras
Bajani tanpura