Playing this complex instrument demands great skill and ability. It consists of a hollow wooden fingerboard almost four feet long and three to four inches wide, called dand. This is attached to a half-round ball called tunba (gourd). The face of the gourd is a polished wooden plate called tabli, decorated with ivory work. Along the fingerboard, two ivory bridges are placed one after another. The face of the bridge is slanting to keep the instrument’s six strings from touching the moveable brass or steel frets.
The sitar was invented by Hazrat Amir Khusro (1253-1325 AD). It is said that he derived the idea from the veena. The instrument is played by using the right hand to pluck the strings with the mizrab, a sort of triangular plectum made of hard steel. The left hand moves up and down the frets to produce the melody. Many Pakistani musicians have became internationally known for their artisty on the sitar, among them Ustad Rashid Ali Khan Beenkar and Ustad Sharif Khan of Poonch