How To Tune A Setar

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About A Setar


The Setar is a Persian stringed  instrument ("seh" means three, "tar" means wire) with a small pear-shaped soundbox and four metal strings. Two single strings and a course made up of two strings. 
  • Yellow String
  • Drone String
  • Bass String
  • White String
There are 27 movable fret. Setar of Persian origin was widely used before the spread of Islam. Setar are divided into two according to the volume of the sound box.  Their voices are different, but the sounds of both are quite beautiful. Also setar is known as the instrument appealing to the listener's heart.



Tuning is key factor for s instruments. Getting ready to play an instrument starts with tuning your insturment. It makes ready your instrument to get instruction.  To achive successful music, your instrument has to be on the right way. When you put your instrument on the correct pitch not low or high, you can reach the perfect voice. Of course, you should know playing your instrument but string instruments also need tuning. Setar is one of the string instruments from Iran. It has basically 4 strings and they have tuning strategies to reach perfect setar performance. Before goes to tuning setar, let look at structure of setar in detail.

Structure of Setar

            Sound box and lengthy finger board are two basics of a Persian setar. There are 4 strings and Sarpanjeh is the end of the lengthy finger board with four pegs. These 4 pegs help to tune your Persian setar tune.  When you look at the pegs design in the Sarpanjeh, you can see two different desing which are called the old design and the Master Qanbari design. Whereas each two pegs are vertical in the old design, Master Qanbari design consist with all pegs are in the two sides of the Sarpanjeh. According to your Sarpanjeh, your tuning style can be differed little bit. When it comes to frets, setar provide 25 to 28 movable frets on the finger board to create great sounds. When we look at the sizes, 22 cm to 30 cm can be average for sound box. Lengh of the finger board can be varied between 40 cm to 48 cm. Width of the finger board is 3 to 3.5 cm. Kamaliyan model and Hashemi model are two types setar according to Persian setar sound box size. If you have small sound box, you have a Hashemi model with higher sound and if you have large sound box, your model is the Kamaliyan model with bass sound. These are some  informations about structure of the setar to help you before you go to tune your instrument. After that, you can learn your setar’s strings and how to tune them in the next title.


How To Tune A Setar

In the Tar, the bottom pair strings( called white strings) are tuned in C. The middle pair of strings (known as yellow strings) are tuned in G. and the fifth and sixth strings from the bottom (called Zang and Bam, respectively) are tuned C. This is the same with Setar, with this difference that in the Setar the bottom and middle strings are single. In the Setar, the third-string from the bottom is called Moshtagh. With this tuning, the names of the frets in lower (Bam) string are the same as those of the white string(s).


The strings are tuned by turning the tuning pegs that hold the strings. The main playing strings are fine-tuned by sliding a bead fit around each string.


1 comment

  • Posted on by Abdelhalim

    How to tune oud arabic . I need it ( The vidéo)

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