the bass of Southern Asia

What Is a Tambura?

The tambura is a four stringed fretless instrument that is popular in classical and folk music of Southern Asia. The four strings are usually tuned either c-c-c-g or c-c-c-f. Tuning is often aided by adding bits of wool and silk placed between the strings and using beads on them. The tambura is a very popular backround sound in the music of Southern Asia, like the bass is in the west.

pictured right: tambura made from wood

did you know...

That the tambura is often called tanpura in the northern part of India and tambura in the south

where did the tambura come from?

Many instruments resemble the tambura, however the veena is the most probable source of the tambura. The veena is a seven stringed instrument, and uses a drone (like the tambura). The veena has been around in India for a very long time, in fact there are mentions to it in the Rig Veda, an ancient hindu writing. Another very likely source is the tanbur, a Middle-Eastern stringed instrument.
Big image
pictured above is a veena, usually made with gords

who plays the tambura?

Unlike the sitar (another stringed instrument from India) the tambura has yet to make much of an appearance in western culture. However it remains popular in the region of South Asia. Some of the most famous tambura players are Gowrishankar Gurusawmy, Soman Pillai, Prasanna Athele, Nellai Krishnan, Indira Sheshadri and Helen Francis.

did you know...

that large tamburas are sometimes referred to as 'males' and the smaller ones 'females'

works cited:

Britannica Encyclopedia."tambura" Encyclopedia Britannica Article 23 April 2013




Chatterjee, Manini. India. Great Britan: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2002