Structure of Swarmandal
The Swarmandal instrument measures from 24 to 30 inches in length and 12 to 15 inches in width. The singer may choose to employ any number of strings from 21 to 36. The strings are hooked in the nail lodged in the right edge of Swarmandal and on the left, twirl around rectangular pegs which can be tightened with a special key. A sharp half-inch ridge is built on both sides of Swarmandal stands a little apart from the nails on which the strings are tightened. This ridge functions as bridge on both sides. There is no standardized size for the Swarmandal, since there is no standard number of strings. Also different individuals will sing from different keys, thus the tunes of the Swarmandal, which every musician tunes, is different from the other.
Eminent Players of Swarmandal
The Swarmandal is used by some gharanas or schools of Hindustani music. It is tuned to the individual Raaga being sung and strummed by hand. It is played almost exclusively by the lead vocalist. Some of the vocalists who have used this instrument extensively are Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Gaansaraswati Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Rashid Khan and Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.
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