‘Sur Santoor’ is a comparatively new instrument introduced in the world of music. I invented and designed this instrument in 2003 with Sh. Bishan Das ji (Rikhi Ram Music, Delhi) who put his expertise in making my idea a reality in the shape of ‘Sur Santoor’.
Sur Santoor is a 30 stringed instrument and can be placed in the family of Mattakokila Veena of Bharat’s time or present day Swarmandal or Harp. While playing, the instrument is kept in the lap of the performer just like the Santoor. I dedicated the instrument to my father and guru, the legendary Pandit Bhajan Sopori ji as a birthday gift to him in 2004. Sur Santoor is thus an addition to the instruments of Sopori – Sufiana Gharana of Kashmir and the ‘Sopori Baaj’, the style created by my father Pandit Bhajan Sopori ji.
Sur Santoor, with its structural designing, resembles the Santoor and is quite light in weight. I introduced the Guitar keys on both left and right side to facilitate the tuning of the instrument. The instrument incorporates steel, copper & Guitar strings for an enhanced tonal quality. The size of the instrument, so far its height, width and the length is concerned, is designed to generate the desired sound suitable for an instrumental accompaniment, especially the Santoor. The regular Swarmandals would generate excessive sound and its sustain would dominate the sound generated by the Santoor. And this was the basis of invention of Sur Santoor.
Sur Santoor is tuned as per the scale of the Raga and has a range of 2½ octaves starting from Pancham (Pa) of Mandra Saptak (lower octave) till Shadja / Shadaj (Sa) of Atitaar Saptak (higher octave). Thus the instrument is tuned as P D N, SS RR GG MM PP DD NN, SS RR GG MM PP D N S.