The word sitar is derived from the Persian word Sehtar, meaning ‘three-stringed’. The instrument appears to have descended from long-necked lutes taken to India from Central Asia.
Flourishing in the 16th and 17th centuries, the sitar arrived at its present form in the 18th century. Today it is one of the dominant instruments in Hindustani music.
The Sitar is a stringed instrument of the lute family that is popular in the Indian Subcontinent and presently the world over.
Typically measuring about 1.2 metres (4 feet) in length, it has a deep pear-shaped gourd body(which is the main sound box also known as the Tumba); a long, wide, hollow wooden neck; both front and side tuning pegs; and 17,20 or 22 arched movable frets. There are usually six or seven main strings and as many as 12 or 13 sympathetic strings beneath the frets in the neck that are tuned to the notes of the Raaga (melodic framework of the Raaga)
In the present times two major styles of Sitar are widely used ,one is the Pandit Ravi Shankar style Sitar(also known as the Kharag Pancham) and the other one is the Ustad Vilayat Khan style Sitar( Gandhar Pancham style)
The dominant form of music played on the Sitar is the Hindustani or the North Indian Style of Indian Classical Music.