Dilruba is a cross between the sitar and sarangi. It is extremely close to the esraj and the mayuri vina. It so close that most people are unable to tell them apart. The difference is to be found in the shape of the resonators and the manner in which the sympathetic strings attach. Still they are so similar that a dilruba player has no trouble playing an esraj or a mayuri vina and vice versa.
The dilruba is popular in north-west India. It is found in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The construction is very interesting. The neck has approximately 18 strings. The approach to tuning is somewhat similar to the sitar. Like the sitar, almost all of the playing is performed upon only one string. There are a number of metallic frets, some of which will be moved according to the requirements of the rag. It has a series of sympathetic strings which are tuned to the notes of the rag.
The technique is also a cross between the sarangi and the sitar. It is bowed with a bow (known as gaz) in a manner very much like the sarangi. It is bowed with the right hand while the left hand fingers the strings.
There seem to be two schools concerning the fingering of the dilruba. One approach shows a strong influence of the sitar. For this approach, there is a strong preference given to using the index finger. Like the sitar, one occasionally invokes the middle finger to gain speed. This approach seems to be slightly more common in North Eastern India. The other school of seems to show more of an influence from the sarangi. For this approach there is a distinct preference given to the use of the middle finger coupled with the index finger. This approach seems to have the advantage that if one requires speed, on can occasionally use either the index or the ring finger to go in either direction. It is interesting to note though that the proponents of the “sarangi” school of technique seem to be less disposed to invoke such shortcuts to their technique. be less disposed to invoke such shortcuts to their technique.