Tabla & Sitar: 11 Answers You Should Know (For Beginners)

The Indian music sub-continent is usually divided into two major classical music traditions, such as Karnataka music of South India and Hindustani music of North India. However, music is not limited to only these two traditions; many regions of India have movable frets where several Indian musical instruments play musical tradition. 

Furthermore, Hindustani classical music is very popular and primarily known for its instrumentalism. The instruments used in Hindustani classical music are the Sitar, Tabla, Sarangi, Tanpura, Sarod, and Shehnai. On the other hand, Karnataka classical music is renowned and known mainly for its virtuosic singing practices. The music Included are Kanjira, Violin, Mridangam, and Veena. 

1. Who Invented Tabla And Sitar?

Tabla was invented by a drummer named Amir Khusru in the first half of the 18th century. During the thirteenth century, a famous Sufi inventor named Amir Khusrow, a poet, and pioneer of Khyal, Tarana, and Qawwali, invented Sitar.

Multiple theories are available regarding the invention of Tabla. However, the first assumption was made in the first half of the 18th century by drummer Amir Khusru. Later, according to the second assumption, the Tabla is connected to Indian mythology, where Lord Ganesha is playing the parental Indian instrument “Pakhavaj,” which accidentally drops and results in the invention of Tabla.

Tabla is the most commonly played set in North Indian music as it belongs to the North Indian heritage. Tabla is the traditional instrument played for maintaining the metric cycle as set by the various compositions. Tabla can be played individually or as in a solo performance. It is also played to accompany multiple genres of music.

Moreover, Sitar is the most popular string instrument as it has been modified from Veena, a three-string instrument. During the Mughal period in India, the Veena was played most, but now it has been modified in Sitar. 

There are various theories regarding the invention of Sitar. However, the first theory was made in the 13th century by Amir Khusrow, who had invented Sitar. In the 18th century, he evolved Sitar from Persian Sehtar.

After that, the second one evolved from Rudra Veena with different materials. Later on, another theory evolved from Saraswati Veena, which is authenticated on Saraswati Veena itself.

2. Who Is The Father Of Sitar And Tabla?

Amir Khusrow was an iconic figure and Indian musician, poet, and scholar. He is considered the father of Sitar as it was created from the traditional Indian drum. Amir Khusrow was a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi. He is one of the prolific and movable frets seminal musicians with a notable poet.

Alla Rakha was a famous Tabla player specializing in Hindustani classical music; he is also a frequent accompanist of sitar and responsible for introducing tabla to the Western audience.

Amir Khusrow, a Sitar player, and Alla Rakha, a Tabla player, are known as the father of Sitar and Tabla.

3. Is Sitar An Indian Instrument?

A Sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking. It is one of the most popular instruments in Northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Sitar has gained popularity, not in India but also in the west over the past few decades. 


Sitar is considered as the instrument that came from Central Asia. The word Sitar is acquired from the Persian word Sehtar, which means “three-stringed.” Amir Khusrow played a preeminent role in the development of this instrument. 

4. How Many Strings Does A Sitar Have?

Sitar is an excellent stringed musical instrument in Hindustani music. It usually has five melody strings, out of the one or two drone strings are used to emphasize the pulse or rhythm, and 13 sympathetic strings beneath the frets in the neck of the Sitar, which are tuned to the notes of the raga.

The convex metal frets are usually tied along the neck of the Sitar, which enables them to move as needed. Additionally, the Sitar has a resonating gourd under the pegbox, which helps balance the instrument’s weight and assists in supporting it when it is not being played.

5. How Was Sitar Discovered?

The word Sitar is obtained from the Persian word Sehtar, which means three-stringed. The Sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries. It appears as descended from a long-necked lute. It is generally taken to India from Central Asia.

In addition, the sitar is also used as a solo instrument with Tabla and Tanpura. It was used primarily for the famous North Indian dance form, Kathak. 

6. Who Is The Most Famous Sitar Player?

Ravi Shankar, whose full name goes by Ravindra Shankar Chaudhary, is the most famous Sitar player. He was born on 7 April 1920 in Benares. He has become the world’s best-known exponent of Hindustani classical music as he already performed with India’s most percussionists and successfully recorded plenty of recordings.

7. Who Popularised Sitar?

Ravi Shankar popularised Sitar and also made Indian Sitar music famous worldwide. He was born on April 17 in 1920 and began his musical journey when he was just 14. He was also known as India’s most famous musician.

Ravi Shankar also taught Harrison to play the Sitar and collaborated with him on various projects. Shankar also collaborated with other top artists. He composed 3 Sitar and worked with leading conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, and the composer Philip Glass.

8. Who Is The Best Sitarist In India?

Ravi Shankar is considered one of the best sitarists in India. He also became one of the famous exponents of North Indian classical music.

During the second half of the 20th century, he influenced many musicians throughout the world. Ravi Shankar was also awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, in 1999.

9. Is Sitar An African Instrument?

The sitar is an Indian stringed instrument. It has a long neck and strings that help to produce sound. It originated from the Indian subcontinent and is popularly used in Hindustani classical music. This instrument flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived in the 18th century as its present form.

10. How Was Tabla Invented?

Tabla is a popularly famous instrument of North India. It is the most commonly used instrument in Indian classical music. Its versatility in musical styles made it unique and recognized in all of India.


The history of the tabla is quite unclear as there are multiple theories regarding the invention. However, there are two most famous groups of theories. One traces its origin to the Mughal of the Indian subcontinent, and the other traces it to the indigenous origins.

11. Is Tabla An Indian Instrument?

The Tabla is the most popular pair of twin hand drums. It is an Indian instrument that is excellently set in North Indian music. Since the 18th-century, Tabla had become a profusion instrument in Hindustani classical music. It is frequent to use and can be played with other instruments as solo and vocals.

Final Thoughts

No doubt, the musical instrument section of our Indian culture contains a massive range of excellent instruments across India. The diversity of instruments is vast, and it keeps adding value not only to Indian culture but also to other cultures.

Learning musical instruments is an excellent way to grow your personality and improve your confidence, perspective, self-awareness, and widen your social circle.

Several Indian musical instruments play a huge role in our Indian culture. Additionally,  an instrument symbolizes a diversity in linguistic, religious terms, and culture that all help to shape its pluralism.

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