Setar is an instrument with a simple and humble appearance comparing to other instruments in Iranian traditional music. It is a string instrument played with a pick or fingernail. It is constructed using wood, metal and wire. The strings used to be made from animal’s intestine but nowadays metal is widely used. Persian Setar is from Tanbur family of instruments; Today’s Setar is considered a close cousin of the instrument Tar.
Setar instrument is played with the player sitting down and holding it horizontally against the leg. Its main body is placed on the right side of the player while, the neck/frets is held on the left side. Holding the frets with the left hand’s fingers and strumming the strings using long thumb fingernail or a pick, one could generate a truly captivating sound on Persian Setar. There is not much known of the history of Setar except that it has gone through a lot of changes during the rule of Qajar dynasty in Iran. Persian Setar originally had three strings, but a Darvish named Moshtaq-Ali Shah added a fourth one to improve the sound. That’s why this string is also known as Moshtaq’s string. Moshtaq is a well-known figure in mysticism and literature. In 1206 (Lunar Hejri calendar), he was stoned to death because he used to read the Quran while playing the Setar. His body is buried in Kerman’s Moshtaqieh square next to Mirza Hossein Khan’s tomb and is a pilgrim’s stop among mystics.
Rhythmitica presents online Setar lessons via Skype by Shahab Azin Mehr this music online class can be taken in Persian and English languages. In order to register for Online Setar lessons, please book a free consultation session first.In this session you can talk directly with the manager via Skype and ask your questions about the class, methods, discounts or Persian instruments. After this session, you can set a time for weekly classes.