My Rubab v2


My Rubab V2” – Aghani Rabab learning Book.


My Rubab V2” – First English and published book in Rubab History which cover almost all the basic knowledge about Afghani Rubab From A to Z.

Title book: My Rubab v2

Author book: M.Sohail

© 2020, M.Sohail


Table of Contents

MY Rubab – V2 :

Chapter 1: Introduction.. 4
Chapter 2: Naming.. 11
Chapter 3: Tuning.. 28
Chapter 4:  Sargam.. 39
Chapter 5: Scale.. 79
Chapter 6: Classical Music. 96
Chapter 7: Alap.. 138
Chapter 8: Music Compositions. 141
Chapter 9: Types of Rubabs (Figures). 201

Chapter 1: Introduction



Note :- “My Rubab – V2” is just an introductive book. We will try to introduce the rubab instrument in simple words. If you need detail info and notes you will need “My Rubab – V3”. This book is updated upto 2022. Rubab have no proper research papers, history, books and have no standard notations  published yet that is useful in learning process.


Introduction :- Rubab is a stringed musical instrument whose origins of history are not clear but everyone has their own opinions and stories about it. In this book we will ignore those things which are just theories and have no as such evidence, but lovers, makers, and masters/players are mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan so we will keep these two countries in mind while discussing things about the instrument.  Now it is getting popular and is attracting lovers from all over the world. It is just a hand-crafted instrument of wood and there was no use of the machine in making rubab upto 2020 but in 2021, M.Sohail, the author of this book, has printed 3D Rubab and soon rubab making will shift from handicraft to machine (3D, CNC, and laser alike technologies).


Rubab is a short-necked double-chambered plucked lute with mostly three or four main strings, two or three drone strings(metal strings), and up to fifteen or more sympathetic strings (metal strings). Formerly, the main strings were made from gut, but gut nowadays is replaced by nylon, usually taken from heavy duty fishing line. These are sympathetic strings in rubab that produce echo in rubab. They are tuned to the notes of the raga being performed. The body of the rubab should be carved from a certain variety of mulberry wood called king mulberry (shah tut) but it is not necessary. The lower chamber has a skin belly, while the upper has a wooden lid that serves as the fingerboard. The fingerboard is often highly decorated with intricate mother-of-pearl, inlays etc. that is crafted in the form of a ‘tree of life’, ‘leaves’, ‘flowers’, or ‘songbirds’  such as nightingales or canaries but this story is not only limited to these designed patterns.


Remember these points while buying and taking care of rubab:

As an experience :

  • Best wood for rubab that is clean, with clear lines on it, good-looking, with good echo and sound,  light in weight and is famous in the world of rubab making is a kind of Mulberry (Bidana-shahtoot), which is expensive and rarely found in the countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you have less budget, then simple mulberry or Pakistani Tirawall wood is the better. If the budget is more less than that, then “tut” wood is the final option. Woods, other than these kinds are not recommended but can be used in rubab making. Every kind of wood has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Select best sized rubab, because every size has its own quality, property and sound (Bass or sharp). If you are a new learner and your age is more than eighteen years and your body posture is normal(neither too obese nor too skinny), 27 inches rubab is the best option because it is easy to carry, the sound is sharp and best in stage performance while playing in musical composition. If you are female and your age is more than eighteen, 26-27 inches rubab is more suitable size for you. As the author of this book have a rubab shop so, from his experience it can be said that 90% females demand light and small sized rubab.  If your age is less than eighteen, then 25 inches rubab is the best option.  23 inches rubab is much better for the people under the age of 13. Sizes below these are not favourable for rubab making. If you are a professional player,  you can think about the bigger size that create bass sound because of  low tune and is comfortable in playing. Rubab of bigger size is difficult to carry for tours and long hikes etc.
  • If you have an option to select one between new and old rubab and old is in better condition, the old one is the best choice because it will never shrink and swell, and will not mostly meet with cracks but new wood can be influenced much by worst weather and humidity.  Sometimes people buy new rubab and polish it with a colour which is not often good for the wood as well as sound of the rubab because there is a greater chance for the rubab to lose its sound(Such a rubab whose sound is lost due to polishing or when it is not played for a long time, in Pashto we call such rubab a “Kund Rubab”). The best way is to buy a rubab and wait until it starts changing its colour after 5-6 months. After 2-3 years it will change its colour and would get as dark as an old rubab. Also try to clean your rubab with a piece of soft cloth/fabric like that of ‘muslin’. Cleaning your rubab on daily basis will give it a shine and soon it will give you an oily look.
  • Try to keep rubab tune according to its size but if you are in very hot temperature, try to tune rubab in low tune because 30% of rubabs in the author’s shop break child sympathetic or zir strings while hanging without being played.  If you have no rubab repairing shop available try to keep and tune rubab in low tune.
  • If you want to buy rubab, visit the link given below and order rubab online of your choice:

Chapter 2: Naming

If you have learn some new knowledge in Chepter 1 above you can order the book online.

Order Afghani Rubab online : 0092-323-9694096
WhatsApp Link :
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