Santur: Complex but Addition to Musical Diversity of Gothenburg


Gothenburg has a wealth of musical talent. One can spot or find musicians in different parts of the city in an organized or unorganized (buskers) event. The social diversity is also adding to the musical diversity of city.

Behzad Ranjbari is a musician of Iranian descent who plays santur. On a fine evening, 30 June, Behzad Ranjbari conducted a discourse on santur and played santur – how to play, the nuances of creating music out of the instrument, and the emotional aspect of musical creation. The venue was the outdoor premises of Högskolan för Scen och Musik (Academy of Music and Drama), and more than 20 Swedish-Iranians participated, but many passers-by dropped in and dropped out of the session.

Behzad Ranjbari with participants: explaining the nuances of musical composition and notation

Santur (santūr) is an ancient Iranian musical instrument (similar in shape to yatufan, qānūn, and there is an Indian musical instrument santoor). A musical instrument of this type in trapezoid shape is popular in Indo-Persian Culture Belt (India, Iran, Pakistan) played as part of folk and classical music.

Arash Eslamdoost is a faculty member at Chalmers University of Technology, and a connoisseur of Santur music. He said that the beauty of playing this instrument is ‘music is never ending, no end to it’.

The information and knowledge of the santur music is limited – because it is a complicated musical structure and not easy to understand. Arash explained that if you play the same note again, it may not be the same note again because emotional aspect or circumstantial influence of the current condition of the player may affect and as a result something else is created.

“It is not easy to learn, it is complicated to learn,” said Arash. Because it is so complex and complicated, most of the musical aspirants do not learn it, and many of them do not know about this musical instrument, and it is difficult to earn patronage for this music because it is difficult to reach out to the uneducated audience. However, Arash is endeared to the complicated structure of the musical compilation, and he is learning from Behzad Ranjbari.