The surpeti, also called swar pethi, swar peti, swarpeti, surpeti, sur peti, sruti box, or shruti box, is an Indian drone instrument. It is a small box whose only function is to provide the drone. There are two, basic forms, one is manual and the other is electronic.
In the last few decades, the electronic versions have become very popular. The electronic ones have evolved considerably over the last few years. Original versions were simple analogue devices that tended to drift and were unreliable. However, advances in digital technology have brought them to a very high level of reliability. Today, it is even common for them to give the sounds and character of the tambura. Such versions are even commonly referred to as "electronic tamburas".
Although the surpeti is common throughout India, their usage differs considerably. Hindustani musicians will regularly use them in practice but usually would not consider bringing them onto the stage. This is in contrast to Carnatic musicians who very regularly use them in stage performances.
© 1998 - 2017 David and Chandrakantha Courtney
For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at email@example.com