Dotara (literally, two-stringed) a stringed folk musical instrument, often used to accompany bhawaiya songs. The dotara's rhythm harmonizes with the bhawaiya's long intonation, that is why bhawaiya is also called 'dotara song'.
|Dotara (Khulna)||Dotara (Rangpur)||Dotara (Panchagarh)||Dotara (Dhaka)|
Despite its name, the dotara's strings are not always limited to two, but may number four or six. The instrument is made by stretching leather on a hollowed wooden frame. Strings, made of brass or twisted silk strands, rise from under the base of the frame and go up the neck to the knobs at the top. The sound of the dotara is regulated by turning the knobs to tighten or loosen the strings, which are known as jil, sur, vam, and gam.
The wooden top of the dotara is engraved with designs of peacocks and other birds. The kati or plectrum is made of horn, bone or wood. In the rangpur region it is called chutki or khutni. When played in a seated position, the lower end of the dotara rests on the leg of the player; when played standing, it is hung from the neck and held in the left hand.
The dotara is also played in combination with other instruments in murshidi, marfati, jarigan and kavigan. The dotara is mentioned in the Padmapurana, Dhyanmala and other books of the Middle Ages. It is also known as swaraj and surasanggraha. [Wakil Ahmed]