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dstoyle

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi...

Just joined this forum and have just started playing the sitar... can not find a teacher so am a bit stuck...

I have a very basic question about fingering... sorry you must get questions like this all the time. I have looked over the posts here, and saw that when you play the scale. s r g m p d n s, you use the first finger until top sa and then use the 2nd finger.

What I want to know is that if I am playing exercises such as s r g, r g m, etc do i just use the first finger all the way to sa or do I use my send finger on the 3rd note, so for example use the first finger for sa and re and the 2nd finger for ga.

Hope you dont mind me asking, and if anyone can take the time to reply I would be very grateful...

Thanks
Darren
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AbdulLatif

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Posts: 449
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Dstoyle,
The general rule is to use the middle finger at the end of each ascending run, even if the ascent is 2 notes. It seems limiting at first but its fundamental to developing good technique down the road. Trying to use 3 fingers etc when learning tends to make for sloppy intonation.

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hello from the forum

A good way to remember is;

If you intend to go back 'down' the notes then use your 2nd finger to play the final note of the phrase.

I'm of the Etawah Gharana lot so I'd NEVER use the 3rd or ring finger so that's not in the equation.

Nick
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dstoyle

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the response...

I have been using my first finger too much and will start using my second finger at the end of runs...

is there any resources on the net to help aspiring sitar players to learn...

Thanks again
Darren
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AbdulLatif

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Posts: 449
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Hello from the forum

A good way to remember is;

If you intend to go back 'down' the notes then use your 2nd finger to play the final note of the phrase.

I'm of the Etawah Gharana lot so I'd NEVER use the 3rd or ring finger so that's not in the equation.

Nick
Awww c'mon Nick you have my permission to use your ring finger. it does make for some tasty pull offs. Don't tell anyone OK, its the treasure of the zzyzxbani.

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"Words are said to have a delusive nature (Mahamaya Matrika) because the word itself, although it may contain a reference to an object is often surrounded by clusters or Kulas of lesser Shaktis...."
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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #6 
Go to http://www.sitarplayer.ca

Element 82 has put this site together and there's some good articles on sargam and other things that will surely be of help to you. Don't listen to those three finger guys, I hear it's a genetic problem :wink: , just use two fingers

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #7 
Here's my two cents (I never use three cents...OUCH!) Not too long ago, people said you couldn't get low surbahar alap on sitar, then Ravi (or somebody) added the two low strings. Some time back Shahid Parvez started doing things no one had thought of. Some time ago, somebody added sympathetic strings to a variation of a vina and the modern sitar evolved. Somewhere, sitar players started using Diri strokes on the chikaris, previously used for only ra strokes, etc. etc. The problem with using more fingers on sitar is a problem with intonation, meend, and also the nature of the neck and the fact that it is mainly a one string for melody instrument. But the "taboo" of using a third finger when it works and facillitates a wide interval, shouldn't be taken as written in stone. In My Humble Opinion. Follow the general rule of two fingers, but there are several master players who ocassionally use a third.
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Drew

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
Here's my two cents (I never use three cents...OUCH!) Not too long ago, people said you couldn't get low surbahar alap on sitar, then Ravi (or somebody) added the two low strings. Some time back Shahid Parvez started doing things no one had thought of. Some time ago, somebody added sympathetic strings to a variation of a vina and the modern sitar evolved. Somewhere, sitar players started using Diri strokes on the chikaris, previously used for only ra strokes, etc. etc. The problem with using more fingers on sitar is a problem with intonation, meend, and also the nature of the neck and the fact that it is mainly a one string for melody instrument. But the "taboo" of using a third finger when it works and facillitates a wide interval, shouldn't be taken as written in stone. In My Humble Opinion. Follow the general rule of two fingers, but there are several master players who ocassionally use a third.

good point

And I have seen many of the masters use a 3rd finger.

I myself only use it once in a blue moon for those big hammer on/pull off stretches. I also sometimes use my pinky instead of the 3rd finger (I bet some of you are about to cry after reading that! :wink: ). Sometimes if the stretch is large enough... the pinky makes it that much easier. And having the coordination with it from my Guitar playing also helps.

But, I will admitt that it does and can create some intonation problems and can make the note your using your 3rd finger to fret sound a little off because the string isnt in its natural position and gets a slight meend/bend or even is just pressed to hard and makes the note sound a little sharp.

heck, sometimes even when I use my 2nd finger for a big stretch the note can be a little off. Im sure we have all had this happen at one time or another. That is one of the biggest problems for beginners to get through. It really does take some finess to fret a Sitar note properly and is much different and harder than fretting a note on a guitar.
Just remember when fretting a note, not to press too hard. Same when doing meends/bends. Otherwise it wont sound in tune, especially for the meends.


and dstoyle,

Ashwin Batish has some instructional videos you can buy. That may be a good idea for you if you dont have access to a teacher. From what I hear, they arent all that bad either but, Ive never seen them so I cant confirm.
I have his Tweaking Sitar vid and I felt I got my money worth. He has another one comming out soon as well thats just for fixing jawari (bridge). Im looking forward to that. "Maybe within 6months" Ashwins brother told me? so who knows, I think in Indian time thats really 2 years!

check it out here:

There is Sitar tutor 1 & 2, changing your strings, tweaking your sitar

http://batish.com/catalog/

or

http://sitarpower.com/#Sitar1

just scroll down and you will find them



There is also some guy on the net who gives lessons over the net for the price of a few months rent if you have the money to spend on that. There is an old post from not too long ago if you want to try and look for it.

good luck on your sitar journey

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AbdulLatif

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Posts: 449
Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
Here's my two cents (I never use three cents...OUCH!) Not too long ago, people said you couldn't get low surbahar alap on sitar, then Ravi (or somebody) added the two low strings. Some time back Shahid Parvez started doing things no one had thought of. Some time ago, somebody added sympathetic strings to a variation of a vina and the modern sitar evolved. Somewhere, sitar players started using Diri strokes on the chikaris, previously used for only ra strokes, etc. etc. The problem with using more fingers on sitar is a problem with intonation, meend, and also the nature of the neck and the fact that it is mainly a one string for melody instrument. But the "taboo" of using a third finger when it works and facillitates a wide interval, shouldn't be taken as written in stone. In My Humble Opinion. Follow the general rule of two fingers, but there are several master players who ocassionally use a third.
HERETIC :evil: ICONOCLAST :evil: ANARCHIST :evil: DEMONSPAWN :evil: Comrade!!! C'MON Luddites light the torches and sharpen the tuning pitchforks.

Sitarman I am shocked and dismayed, Why hast though forsaken us :?: Well reasoned argument in support of 3 fingers, but if one is dedicated to a guru in the traditional manner its better to respect his/her instructions. Nick you are absolutely on target. In support of the heresy a nice 3 finger hammer on or a 3 note pull of is pretty tasty and I can't see how it can be duplicated by the 2 finger rule. I also like to play rudimentary chords in Alap another No No.

I played sitar for @3 years before I was initiated by my Ustad he insisted I cease and desist from all of my "innovations" Being young and smarter than anyone else in the world I thought he was full of durian fruit. After a couple of years of taans and slavish adherence to the letter of the law he said go ahead and integrate the knowledge. It was great I had a solid foundation in technique and intonation so when I played my "old style" I was aware if it interfered with the correct way of playing it was easy to let go and the bonus is my improvised method added a very nice variety to my playing. All past tense folks I really, really, really suck now.

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"Words are said to have a delusive nature (Mahamaya Matrika) because the word itself, although it may contain a reference to an object is often surrounded by clusters or Kulas of lesser Shaktis...."
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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #10 
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Just a listener now....Was fun while i played though!
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dennis

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #11 
http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=sitar

Take it from a 4 month old newbie, this is the best free on-line lessons available.
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Joshua Feinberg

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Posts: 323
Reply with quote  #12 
hi,

ive never seen anyone use 3 fingers. however, i have seen both Nikhilda and Raviji use the ring finger to replace the middle finger for long streatches (such as komal dha to ni in the lower register of the ma string). i play this way. the Imdad Khani guys seem really adament on never using any fingers other than the index and middle. i don't know how they pull off the longer stuff without dislocating their fingers!

jf

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sitarman

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Posts: 599
Reply with quote  #13 
When I took my first lesson, back in the days of dinosaurs, my teacher Harihar Rao, who is an old friend of Raviji, said "It's OK to use the third finger if really necessary for a big stretch. Ravi Shankar does that". My next teacher was a disciple of Arvind Parikh and never used her 3rd finger. I agree that you should respect your teacher while studying. It is amazing that some 2-finger-only players can do the wide krintans, etc. I tend to use it rarely afterr having been taught both ways. When I study again (hopefully with Shujaat Khan in a few weeks) I will again respect my teachers style. The thing is this- music is the expression of the soul through an instrument (voice included) and if I could pull off a Shahid Parvez drut taan with a thumb and pinky would anyone listening care? Would it lesson the effect? The expression? The purpose of performing for others? I believe that the traditional way of playing sitar has evolved because it works best, in most instances. So I study that and try to get as proficient as possible with what the masters have taught. BUT (you knew this was coming, huh AbdulL ) the masters themselves have gone beyond the limits of their predecessors and if they got good enough, if they pulled our heartstrings with their beauty and dazzled us with their controlled virtuosity, then we eventually accepted their technique and it became the "standard", the "tradition" (hence NB using a 3rd finger on occassion). Ali Akibar Khan used an expression when describing the use of, say, shudh Re in Bhairavi- to paraphrase- "You don't bring wine into church, but there are occassions where wine is used in the church." In other words, knowing when to break the rule, in order to rise above it, to bring out the true expression, is OK.
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dstoyle

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #14 
Thanks everyone for all the help...

Those links to the videos are great.. cheers...

Will go and build up some calluses on my fingers now....

Darren
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trippy monkey

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Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #15 
Re the 3rd finger debate.
We had a long post on this before.

We came to the conclusion that it all depends on what style you are & what gamaks etc you want to use in your playing to produce your own style. There are certain decorations that have to use 3 fingers to produce but that would make your style of that particular sound anyway ie Ravi or Nikhil's.

Etawah is usually based totally on complete control of TWO FINGERS.
Having said that, I have videos of Bhudhaditya Mukerjee, supposedly of Etawah style, using his ring finger.

Ravi AND Anoushka both use ring finger even when it's totally possible to use the second. Sloppy or lazy, I don't know. Anoushka uses hers even as a replacement for her 2nd. Check out the 'Concert For George' footage.
Is this from Allauddin Khan sahb? What were his views on sitar technique though he didn't play this instrument? A remnant from sarod technique a person with a little arthritis might use?

Why doesn't someone start using a sarod plectrum if we can do what we like. :wink:
See what kind of reception you get then.
:twisted:

Nick
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