The Dilruba originates from the Taus and is the work of the 10th Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is an instrument which Guru Gobind Singh designed and created. Dilruba is Persian for 'heart stealer', the instrument itself has a wonderfully enchanting sound which takes away your heart in an instance.
The Dilruba is a smaller and modified version of the Taus. The reason for its creation was predominantly due to the practicality of carrying it for the soldiers and warriors who served in the army of the Tenth Guru Sahib, as all soldiers kept their instruments with them at all times. The Taus had storage issues due to its size and the Dilruba resolved these issues for the Sikhs as it is much smaller in size and much cheaper to produce compared to the Taus. This made it more convenient for the Sikh army to carry the instrument on horseback.
Dilruba is also the easiest and lightest instrument to play and it is incredible simple to understand. It takes simply 10 minutes to pick up and start playing.
Technical Specification of Dilruba:
1. Wood: Indian Tunn, it is close to Red Cedar
2. Strings: Metal
3. Skin: Goat Skin
4. Bridge: Traditionally made from ivory or bone, now it is more commonly made from rosewood
The structure of the Dilruba has a medium sized sitar-like neck with 20 heavy metal frets. This neck holds on a long wooden rack of 12-15 sympathetic strings. The dilruba has four main strings which are bowed. All strings are metal. The soundboard is a stretched piece of goatskin similar to what is found on a sarangi. Sometimes the instrument has a gourd affixed to the top for balance or for tone enhancement.
The instrument can be rested between the knees while the player kneels, or more commonly rested on the knee of the player while sitting, or also on the floor just in front of the player, with the neck leaning on the left shoulder. It is played with a bow (known as a "gaz"), with the other hand moving along the strings above the frets. The player may slide the note up or down to achieve the portamento, or meend, characteristic of Indian music.