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The sursanga is one of many Indian lute instruments that were popular in the nineteenth century. Indian lutes figure prominently in ragamala paintings since they are commonly used to accompany singers and for melodic instrumental solos. The sursanga marks an important musical transition from the dhrupad vocal style to modern styles of khyal and thumri. The sursanga is thought to be a descendent of the Indian rabab and an ancestor of the sarod—the instrument made internationally renowned by Ali Akbar Khan. This elaborately decorated example, with gold on a green ground, is part of a suite of instruments donated to the Metropolitan Museum at the end of the nineteenth century by the renowned Indian musicologist Raja Sir Sourindro Mohun Tagore in an effort to promote the appreciation for Indian musical traditions worldwide.

Sursanga, Tun wood, gourd, bone, ivory. gut, wire, Indian

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