A Platform for Ethnically and Culturally Inspired Music

Instrument: Shruti Box

Feb 20, 2023
The shruti box is a small, handheld bellows-operated musical instrument that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as the surpeti, surpetiya, or swarpeti.

The shruti box is typically made of wood and has a series of metal or reed pipes inside that are tuned to specific notes. The bellows are used to create a continuous flow of air that causes the pipes to vibrate and produce a sustained, drone-like sound. The pitch of the sound can be adjusted by pulling or pushing the bellows to control the amount of air flowing through the pipes.

The shruti box is often used in Indian classical music and is particularly popular in the genres of Hindustani and Carnatic music. It is typically used as an accompaniment to other instruments or vocal performances, providing a constant drone that serves as a reference point for the other musicians.

In addition to its use in traditional Indian music, the shruti box has also been incorporated into contemporary music genres such as ambient and experimental music. Its ability to produce a sustained, meditative drone makes it a popular tool for sound healers and practitioners of yoga and meditation.

Overall, the shruti box is a versatile and unique musical instrument that has a rich cultural history and continues to be used in a variety of musical contexts.

Some famous musician who played the shruti box

The shruti box is primarily used as an accompaniment instrument in Indian classical music, and many well-known Indian classical musicians have played it during their performances. Here are a few examples:

1. Pandit Ravi Shankar: The legendary sitar player and composer, who is often credited with popularizing Indian classical music in the West, occasionally played the shruti box in his performances.

2. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan: The sarod maestro, who was a disciple of Ravi Shankar, also used the shruti box in his performances.

3. Pandit Jasraj: The renowned Hindustani classical vocalist was known for his powerful voice, which was often accompanied by the gentle drone of the shruti box.

4. Hariprasad Chaurasia: The renowned flutist and composer, who is known for his innovative approach to Indian classical music, has used the shruti box in some of his compositions.

5. Anoushka Shankar: The sitar player and composer, who is Ravi Shankar's daughter, has experimented with using the shruti box in some of her contemporary compositions.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other musicians who have used the shruti box in their performances, both in traditional and contemporary contexts.