Dilruba is a cross between the sitar and sarangi. It is extremely close to the esraj and the mayuri vina. It so close that most people are unable to tell them apart. The difference is to be found in the shape of the resonators and the manner in which the sympathetic strings attach. It is a bowed string instrument. Still they are so similar that a dilruba player has no trouble playing an esraj or a mayuri vina and vice versa.
The construction is very interesting. The neck has approximately 18 strings. The approach to tuning is somewhat similar to the sitar. Like the sitar, almost all of the playing is performed upon only one string. There are a number of metallic frets, some of which will be moved according to the requirements of the rag. It has a series of sympathetic strings which are tuned to the notes of the raag. The dilruba is popular in north-west India. It is found in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The layout of the strings of the dilruba is very similar to the sitar. This is shown in the illustration to the right. However unlike the sitar, there is no need to move the frets whenever one is playing a note that does not have a fret (e.g., Komal Re or Komal Dha in the middle register.) When one needs to play these notes, one merely has to place the finger in the appropriate point midway between the frets. The meend is also produced in a fashion very differently from the sitar. For the dilruba, one need only slide the fingers up and down along the string in order to produce a meend or any other ornament, where on the sitar one pulls the string laterally across the fret.
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