The strings are strung across a snare bridge, which creates the warm buzzing sound full of overtones which has been the hallmark of Indian music for centuries.
In classical Indian music the accompaniment instruments have no chord changes. The root note remains constant throughout the piece and provides a background for the melody instrument. The melody instrument can be a violin, a flute, vocals, a santur or another instrument.
As there are no harmonic changes in the accompaniment, it is much simpler for the melody players to improvise freely, because they do not have to consider chord changes in the flow of their melody.
The tambura is similar to a monochord and just as easy to play.
The tambura is available in three different sizes and tunings:
|Length||Width||Height||Tuning||Number of strings|
|95 cm||24 cm||6 cm||G/g/g/g/D||5|
|120 cm||24 cm||7 cm||C/h/c/c/g||5|
|155 cm||24 cm||8 cm||A/gis/a/a/E||5|