The santur (also santūr, santour, santoor) (Mesopotamian Arabic: سنطور،Persian: سنتور), is a hammered dulcimer of Iranian or Mesopotamian origins.
The santur was invented and developed in the area of Iran and Mesopotamia. "The earliest sign of it comes from Assyrian and Babylonian stone carvings (669 B.C.); it shows the instrument being played while hanging from the player's neck" (35). This instrument was traded and traveled to different parts of the Middle East. Each country customized and designed its own versions to adapt to their musical scales and tunings. The santur originated in the country that is known today as Iran. The original santur was made with tree bark and stones, and strung with goat intestines. The Mesopotamian santur has been claimed to be the father of the harp, the Chinese yangqin, the harpsichord, the qanun, the cimbalom, and the American and European hammered dulcimers.
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