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Dilruba is a stringed instrument, played with a bow. Dilruba is also know as Esraj in Bengal, which as rounded shape of soundbox; and it is called as 'Taus' with giving a peacock like shape to the soundbox. With attaching a megaphone to its soundbox, another instrument is manufactured and is called as Tar-Shehnai, which has a timre similar to Shehnai though it has no other similarity with Shehnai. This group of instruments (Dilruba, Esraj, Taus, Tar Shehnai) combines the charecteristics of Sarangi (in the size and bowing) and Sitar (in arrangement of frets and tuning system).

This fretted instrument has wooden sound box with parched goatskin, on which main bridge is placed on a leather belt (Tasmaa). The wooden fingerboard has some 20 frets attached to it. It has 4 main strings with around 24 sympathetic strings. The main string on which most of the music is played is made up of steel and is tuned to Mandra Madhyam (lower forth note). Second string is tuned to Kharaj (lower first note) is made up of brass. Third string is tuned to Atimandra Pancham (Lower fifth) and the forth string is tuned to Madhyam / Pancham / Gandhar, depending on the Raga. Dilruba is played, sitting in Baithak posture, with keeping the fingers of left hand on the strings and bowing with right hand.

Dilruba was a popluar instrument in Bihar, specially in Gaya. Allauddin Khan, Omprakash Sharma, Arshad Khan were some Dilruba players from Delhi. Esraj is also popular in Bengal and is prevelant as an accompaning instrument in Vishnupur Gharana and also in Ravindra Sangeet. Some noted Esraj players from Bengal are Ashesh Bandopadhyay, Randhir Roy, Kapil Ghoshal, Buddhadev Das, Tirthankar Roy, Shubhayu Sen Mazumdar, etc. This instrument is very popular in Punjab and is used specially in Sikh Gurmat music. Dilruba and Esraj is also used in Gurjat and Marwar in Haweli Sangeet. Vinayak Vora, Hasmukh Chawla were noted Esraj artists in this region. Vinayak Vora accompanied Pandit Jasraj for several years.

This group of instruments was popular in Hindi film songs and composers such as S D Burmen, Roshan (himself a Dilruba player), Jaidev, Vasant Desai, R D Burmen, etc. used these instruments in many songs. Dakshinamohan Thakur was famous player in film industry, who was known as 'Dukhi babu' due to the great expression of pathos in his playing. In the second half of 20th century, Vinayak Vora was a famous Tar-Shehnai player in Mumbai. It is also used in south Indian film music by Ilayaraja and A R Rahman and popular south Indian player is Dilruba Shanmughan.

In 20th century it was popular in Maharashtra too, but now it has lost its presence from the region. Prahlad Ganu (disciple of Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan of Agra gharana and Guru of Dr. Ashok Da. Ranade) was a noted Dilruba player in Maharashtra. Madhukar Golwalkar was a renowned Tar-Shehnai player in Maharashtra who gave many solo recitals; he was a famous music composer, too. Aranya Kumar from Dharwad is a budding Dilruba player in Karnatak. Sarath Kumarsinghe is a Dilruba player in Sri Lanka.

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