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theactor10

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am wondering if a larger tanpura (I believe they are male tanpuras) can accompany sitar?

I ask because I really love a deep, warm, and long lasting drone sound. That being said, I don't have any experience with the smaller instrumental tanpura.

thanks
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've seen many musicians use large tanpuras, Ravi Shankar, Debu Chaudhuri, Shivnath Mishra, etc. If you're performing amplified it's not an issue. If acoustic only then a large male tanpura can overshadow a sitar which is why some use instrumental tanpuras which are subtle and one octave higher.

Lars

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #4 
OF COURSE IT CAN

I have run sound for many concerts that have used large, medium, small wooden bodied instrumentals,flat, those nice small gourde bodied older Hiren Roy instrumental tampuras ( my dear friend Patric Marks' favorite) electronic and infinite combinations thereof.
We had a wonderful memorial sitar concert for Patric about a year and a half ago. Our good friend & my teacher Gaurav Mazumdar played at the Indian cultural center here where I am the house engineer. We miced up his Karaseksound and used MY large Karasek tampura (oh what a score I made) and my small instrumental, using 2 Sennheisers, and what a heavenly sound we had backing up Gauravbhais playing.
Warm as toast - deep and rich - the vocal could be felt right down to your toes - the instrumental adding just the right amount of bite and penetration on the high end.
BUT
It requires a proper sound check, good microphones, micing technique, perfect tuning, an engineer with an ear to keep all the instruments in proper balance, and the luxury of two accompanist to pull this off properly.
Try a large one out. You will find a beautiful richness to your gigue, or recording, that is beyond compare.
AND I know everyone uses the convenience of the newer electronic. Heck I use my Android phone or iPad when I am noodling solo in front of people or practicing (gotta love iTabla pro) But for a major event or recording it still can't compare to the rich and woody sound of a real tampura.

Hamletsghost 8)

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
I think in large part it can go down to personal taste. Certain sitar styles lend themselves more to bigger, richer tanpura. Compare the lush, full tanpura sound often used by Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee...the latter's Bhimpalasi recording has a bed of tanpura that almost envelops the melody, very beautiful. Contrast that with many Imdadkhani recordings where the tanpura, if it exists at all, is only barely audible when all is whisper quiet. As my teacher says, they have a "built in tanpura" with the chikaris which does fill that role a bit more. Exceptions to every rule though, Vilayat and Imrat Khan "Night at the Taj" album, duet on Chandni Kedar, was recorded at the Taj Mahal and is completely filled with tanpura drones (and hall resonance). Sometimes you want that wet, thick sound to swim around in, sometimes the dry, clear canvas of silence is the best to paint emotions on. To each his own!

Veering back to the more practical...if I understand correctly, "male" tanpuras have an ideal tuning around C as do the instrumental tanpuras...the female tanpuras being F/G or thereabouts. While tweaking string gauge and jawari could probably get you into C# sitar Sa on most tanpuras, I think one should bear in mind the ideal tuning for an instrument as it is strung, the female tanpuras may not be appropriate (without adjustment).
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theactor10

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Reply with quote  #6 
Could the large male tanpura and sitar be played together acoustically if the tanpura is played lightly?

My main want is warmth and sustain.
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kalyan

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Reply with quote  #7 
I think that to get a decent sound out of a male tanpura it would be louder than ideal for acoustic accompaniment, most male tanpuras will sound good at C# or D but with that large gourd it is just too powerful for the job. If you want the lower octave without the volume some instrumental and box tanpuras can be set up to use silk and steel type wound strings and sound great at the lower octave.
Kalyan

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have an Rikhi Ram instrumental tanpura that I bought from a fellow forumite...came strung with wound strings, apparently designed for that. Beautiful little instrument, with a nice sound that isn't going to overwhelm at least a fairly loud sitar...and of course, "overwhelm" is subjective...to some players, barely audible is ideal, to others, a full sound that the sitar peeks through is preferable. But particularly acoustically...I like to fight with as little noise as possible when playing. The higher the noise floor (be it tanpura, background noise, the hum of HVAC even), the harder I have to play to be audible, and the more dynamics I have to sacrifice. Sitar is a wonderfully subtle instrument, and the beautiful decay of notes and hum of taraf are something that can be whited out by even very light amounts of incidental sound. With microphone of course, its an entirely different ballgame.
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