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Bronstein to offer santoor lessons: Master musician to lead an intro workshop on the ancient Persian instrument
May 29, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

For those looking to learn a new instrument, Bronstein Music in South San Francisco is hosting a workshop this weekend on the ancient Persian santoor.

The santoor is a 72-string musical instrument that is played by striking two wooden mallets on the strings. Its origins trace back to ancient Mesopotamia and there have been many variations created at various times by different cultures. It’s considered the forefather of the piano. The American version of this type of instrument is a hammered dulcimer. Ali Zarrin, a local santoor master, will lead the workshop.

“At the beginning of the classes, you get to talk to me directly,” he said. “And you get to know what the music is about. It’s an introduction to Persian classical music.”

The workshop will include a demonstration and solo performance along with basic information on how to play the instrument. Zarrin, who is originally from Iran, began studying santoor at age 14 and has been teaching Persian traditional music since 1987. Zarrin has done performances and workshops in the United States and Canada.

“It’s not the most popular instrument in the world — in Iran it is,” he said. “A number of people have shown interest [in the workshop] who are not even Persian. … Its (the santoor) history goes back a long time and it’s an instrument that can be used to play different styles. It’s also something relatively easy to start to learn.”

Zarrin notes it’s very mesmerizing when you look at the movement of the mallets on the screen.

“A lot of people can benefit from it as long as they know about it,” he said.

Additionally, grand master santoor maker Manu Pouriankhair will be displaying a collection of his instruments and providing more information about the construction of this instrument.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Space is limited, so the store recommends getting tickets in advance. To make a reservation, email or You can also call 588-2502.

For more information about the santoor and Zarrin, go to For more information on the music store, visit

The workshop will be held 3 p.m. May 31 at Bronstein Music, 363 Grand Ave. in South San Francisco. The music store will also be hosting santoor lessons this summer, but class dates have yet to be set.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: santoor, music, instrument, zarrin, workshop, information,

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