Structure of the Dilruba
The neck of Dilruba has around 18 strings. The approach to tuning is similar to the sitar. Almost all of the playing is performed upon only one string. There are a number of metallic frets. Some of these can be moved according to the requirements of the rag. It has a series of sympathetic strings. It is believed that the Dilruba was designed especially for women to play as both the sarangi and the sitar require substantial calluses which can end up disfiguring your fingers. It became popular with Sikh warriors as a light weight portable instrument. It was used in playing shabads, or the hymns of Gurbani kirtan, accompanied by the tabla.
Interest in playing the dilruba waned during the early 1900's and the instrument became very scarce until only a few relics remained by the 1980's. Renewed interest in performing kirtan with traditional string instruments revived the art of making the dilruba. It is an instrument which was designed and created by the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh Ji. The Dilruba is a modified version of the Taus. Dilruba is the easiest and lightest instrument to play.
The dilruba is found in the north, where it is used in religious music and light classical songs in the urban areas. Its name is translated as "robber of the heart."
A. R. Rahman is a well known composer in India who has used the Dilruba. This instrument is very successful as a complement to vocal music, as an instrument for solo performance or as a composing tool. Simple melodies and the subtlest shades can be produced with ease.