Learn How to Play Rabab: An ancient Classical Music Instrument

As we say music has no bar of language, region, religion or caste. Music has the magical power of healing the mind and soul. Every musical instrument has its own identity and every note that comes out from any instrument is appealing.

When we consider all the musical instruments introduced in the different parts of the world by various communities, we should think about the instruments that are hardly used in the concerts and hence rarely known to the audience. Here, we are going to inform you about ‘Rabab’ one of the classic musical instruments rarely used in the concerts but can have everlasting impact on audiences.

‘Rabab’ is a musical instrument originating from central Afghanistan. It derives its name from the arab “Rebab” which means “played with a bow”. Rabab is also known as lions instrument and is one of the national instruments of Afghanistan. Classical afghan music is incomplete without this musical instrument.

‘Mian Tansen’ was a prominent Indian classical music composer, musician and vocalist. He was one of the ‘Navratnas’ (nine jewels) at the court of the mughal emperor Jalal-ud- din Akbar. Tansen was also an instrumentalist who has a major contribution in popularizing ‘Rabab’ as an Indian classical musical instrument.

Structure of Rabab




• Rabab is a short necked lute (a string instrument)
• Body of Rabab is carved out of a single piece of wood with a membrane covering the hollow bowl of the sound chamber
• It has three melody strings, three or two long drones and up to 15 sympathetic strings which are attached to wooden turning pegs
• The head of this instrument is usually made from an animal skin like goat
• Strings are either made from the intestines of young goats, brought to the size of thread or from nylon

How to play Rabab?


Rabab player-2

• Sit with crossed leg on the floor. In an upright posture with a straight back
• Keep the instrument on your right thigh. With the groove between lower and upper chambers straight on your thigh. So that the Rabab is pushed forward in around 45 degree relative to your body.
• The head of the instrument should be at an angle on the floor.
• Most of the Rababs are played by right hand on the strings and the frets are played by the left hand.
• The whole weight of Rabab should be balanced on your thigh so that you can freely move your fingers on the fret board and the strings.

These simple steps will give you a clear idea about the ancient classical instrument Rabab. Also, you can try your hand on this unique instrument of Indian classical music. You will explore the instrument by experimenting your own tunes on it.

You can learn in detail about playing a Rabab by checking out our course. Click here to access the same

March 31, 2016

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