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Rabab is a very ancient instrument found primarily in Afghanistan but in India it is restricted mainly to northwest India. The mystic poets Kabir and Krishnadasa have mentioned it.
The rabab is made of a walnut or cedar soundbox that looks like an elongated half pear joined together along its length. It is a bowed stringed instrument of 53cm length. The top has an upper part covered with a thin sheet of hammered cooper, decorated with three small rosettes. The lower part is covered with goat skin. The instrument also has a peg box, two sheep gut strings that are attached at the bottom of the instrument and pass over a 4 to 5 cm reed bridge. The bow is very curved and made of horse hair.
Rabab is either played as a solo instrument or accompanies singing, especially of long epic poems. The rabab player sits cross-legged, and places the rabab on his right knee obliquely across his body, with the peg box resting against his left shoulder. He places his thumb underneath the strands and uses pressure to control the tension of the bow. The sound produced by the rabab is said to resemble that of the human voice.