The Setar (Persian: سهتار, pronounced [seˈtɒːɾ] ) also spelled as Setaar or Setâr, is an Iranian string instrument. It’s one of the members of the “lute” family beside “Oud” and “Barbat”, Instruments with a neck and a deep round back or bowl. These musical instruments were used to be played mostly in the Middle East, while it seems they refer to the European lutes family. The Setar itself originates in Persia before Islam.
Its lovely soft, tender, and low tune has made its rank among the Iranian musicians the second to learn and play.
In ancient years it had 3 strings while the new ones have 4 now. The third and the fourth strings that are called the “Base string” are too close to each other and played almost together. Among Iranian string instruments playing with a plectrum, nowadays it’s played with the index finger of the right hand.
The Setar has 25 to 28 frets that used to be made of animal intestines or silk, but now they are mostly made of nylon. The strings are made of steel. Nowadays Iranians know it as an Iranian instrument like Taar because the style of playing both is the same.
This lovely famous Iranian instrument is the easiest to play among the instruments with the same shape, style, and way of playing.
It is mostly made of cherry wood but in some cases, you can find them made of walnut.
These Setarists are known for their offhand playing in great concerts and professional permanent compositions.