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A hammered dulcimer shaped like a trapezium and usually made out of maple or walnut wood, its strings are played by being struck with two lightweight wooden mallets held between the index and middle fingers. The Persian santoor has around seventy-two strings.

In Indian classical music, the santoor is played while sitting in a yoga-derived position in which one foot is placed on the thigh and the instrument is then balanced on top of the lap, but in the Persian folk music, the instrument is placed on a wooden block in front of the musician.