The sarode evolved into a classical instrument about 150
years ago, an expression of the combination of the classical, court-based
tradition of the Moghul Empire with instruments derived from the
folk-based traditions of Central Asia. Changes
in design made by Ustad Alauddin Khan in consultation with his brother,
instrument builder Ayet Ali Khan, in the 1920s and 1930s brought
the sarode to its present form. The
body of the sarode is carved from a single piece of teak covered
with a skin head.
The steel fingerboard is fretless, permitting the use of the slides,
ornaments, and microtones characteristic of Indian music. The brass
bell at the end of the instrument acts as a resonator. The sarode
has 25 strings, 18 of which are sympathetic. Four main playing strings
produce the same note range as a viola. Three rhythm strings are
tuned to the tonic note.
The tabla is the classical drum of North India, used to accompany
classical vocal or instrumental music since its development in the
18th century. It consists of two small hand drums, the right hand
drum is made of rosewood, the larger left hand drum of copper or
brass. Both are covered with heads made of multiple layers of goatskin.
The black circle of paste and iron filings in the center permits
the drum to be tuned precisely to a particular note. The drums,
played separately and together, are capable of a wide variety of
specific sounds or syllables which are combined into characteristic
patterns and compositions.