The Sarode, named SAROD-DHAYAK-VINA in Sanskrit, was invented by
Bharat Muni. In the early 16th Century it was known as the SAROOD, which
means "melody," in the Persian language. Gulam Ali Khan, court musician of
King Wazid Ali Shah, made the first changes to the sarode.
Padma Vibhusan Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan (Ali Akbar Khan's father) and
Ustad Ayet Ali Khan (his uncle) modified and perfected the present shape of
the sarode, which is over one hundred years old. Through his performances
and teachings, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan continues to spread the knowledge of the
sarode throughout the world.
The sarode is hand carved from a single block of seasoned toon or teak
wood. The fingerboard is a smooth, fretless, steel plate. The belly is
covered with a goat skin, and it is here that one of the main deerhorn
bridges rests, while the other is on the neck before the main strings.
present sarode has 25 metal strings of different gauges with 4 main strings
carrying the melody. Tuned to the principal notes of the raga are 4 jawari
strings, while 2 chikari strings are tuned to the tonic and used for drone
and rhythm. The remaining 15 strings known as the taraf provide sympathetic
resonance and are tuned to the scale of the raga. The right hand holds a
plectrum, or java (made from a coconut shell), while the left hand uses the
finger tips. The nails and tips of the fingers produce the slide or
sustained glissando sound.