Santoor Paloma

The shimmering sound cascades of Indian santoor can be produced without virtuoso technique and are an incredibly fascinating listening experience for most people. The santoor's crystal clear tone reminds of sparkling mountain streams and waterfalls.

EU: 889 €
incl. VAT, plus 45.10 € shipping within Germany / 65.10 € within Europe
Non-EU: 747,06 €
plus 65.10 € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

According to Ayurveda, the santoor's effect is both vitalizing and relaxing, so that listeners often feel centered, strengthened and elated at the same time. Tone production is relatively simple: the strings are struck gently with a pair of light wooden mallets, held in both hands. Tuning the many strings, however, is an art in itself and requires some practice and patience. Our santoors give a full, resonant sound. They are high quality instruments both in materials and workmanship.

Sound sample of a santoor


Body made of solid wood boards, 31 movable wooden bridges with horn edges, 93 strings, silk mat varnish surfaces, engraved celluloid decoration, soundhole, steel tuning pins mounted on the side of the body, including sturdy plywood case with plastic coating, pair of walnut mallets and tuning key.

General Info

Trapezoidal box zithers, played with mallets, are spread throughout the world in various cultures. The Indian santoor was originally used in the folk music of Kashmir. The pioneering work of the great virtuoso Shivkumar Sharma brought it recognition as a classical Indian solo instrument in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Compared to the Persian santoor, the body of the Indian santoor is less wide and more high and narrows only slightly. The instrument is played on the lap in cross-legged position. The mallets are wooden, with no felt or other coating. There are two rows of 15 to 16 wooden bridges each to the right and left side on the top of the santoor, 30 to 32 altogether. Each bridge holds three strings, tuned to the same note. The bridges divide the strings in a ratio of approximately 1/4 to 3/4. Only the long side of the strings is traditionally struck, giving the instrument one note for each bridge.

Manufacturer / Supplier

PALOMA is the international brand name for instruments made by Haribhau Vishwanath from Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Haribhau Vishwanath was founded in 1925 as a small repair business and developed into one of the leading Indian harmonium manufacturers in the course of decades. In addition, Haribhau Vishwanath makes shrutiboxes, santoors, swarmandals and some drums. Haribhau Vishwanath is also an active musical instrument trader and supplies us with some rarely demanded instruments where a direct purchase from the manufacturer is not profitable. Thanks to his good infrastructure and long experience with instrument manufacturing, trading and international shipping, Haribhau currently supplies all common harmonium models and many other instruments constantly in a high quality regarding workmanship. In addition, he excels through attractive innovations, like e.g. the harmonium Compactina or a particular silk-mat finish. Haribhau Vishwanath is a partner of India Instruments since 2005. Today the company is run by Ashish Diwane.


The tonic (Sa) of the Indian santoor is usually set around Western D. However, it can be chosen a bit lower as well, according to convenience. The tuning of the strings in relation to the tonic usually depends upon the chosen raga or scale. Basically the santoor can be tuned either diatonically (like the celtic harp, e.g.) or chromatically (like the piano in Western music). Both tuning systems have their pros and cons.

Diatonic tuning means that all notes of the santoor are tuned to the chosen scale. This results in a relatively strong internal resonance and long sustain, because nearly all notes are present on the right and left side both. Playing becomes easy, too, because there simply are no ?wrong? notes. However the diatonic santoor needs to be retuned each time when a different scale is used. With usually three strings involved for each single note, this retuning always means a certain effort. The diatonic tuning is used by Shivkumar Sharma. Because of his towering influence it is the most common tuning system for the Indian santoor today. Here is a possible diatonic tuning for our santoors in Bilawal-That (Western major scale) with D used as the tonic. Each note is produced by three strings of the same pitch.


Chromatic tuning means that the 15 notes on the right side are tuned to a diatonic scale, while the notes on the left are tuned to the missing semi-tones. This is similar to the order of white and black keys on a keyboard. With this chromatic tuning system one can change immediately from one scale or raga to another without any retuning. However, one has to carefully avoid striking the ?wrong? notes accidentally. Here is a possible chromatic tuning for our santoors in Bilawal-That (Western major scale) with D used as the tonic. Each note is produced by three strings of the same pitch.


Santoors from India Instruments are usually strung approximately as follows (numbered from low to high):
1. - 2. wound 0,65 mm
3. - 5. steel 0,45 mm
6. - 8. steel 0,37 mm
9. - 13. steel 0,35 mm
15. - 18. steel 0,30 mm
19. - 24. steel 0,27 mm
25. - 30. steel 0,25 mm

The tonal range can be extended to the low octave of the tonic by changing to thicker strings for the 2nd, 4th and 6th note.


Measure: length 55 cm, width 34 to 62 cm, depth 13 cm, weight: 10.5 kg incl. case.
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.