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YoungPanditNS3

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Hi, I have a 12 sypethetic string khan sitar, is it possable to tune it to c#? or should I just leave it in c ?
thank you for your time!
regards,
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #2 
Any normal style sitar should be possible to tune to C# as sa. It's probably the most commonly used Sa tuning among sitarists regardless of gharana. Sometimes people tune up to D as Sa which really only is recommended if you know what you are doing and you know the instrument well enough. Tuning down to C is something I would expect to see in larger scale instruments...a normal scale sitar could possibly start to sound a little flabby as you detune to that point and beyond.
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david

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Reply with quote  #3 
The main issue is going to be the strings and the bridge. In particular the number 4 string. In the Ravi Shankar style of tuning this string is a very low Sa string. You will have to put a heavy brass or bronze string here. (I have had very good luck with wound tanpura strings for this.) The problem is that a VK style sitar was never intended to have a sting this big put there. Therefore at a minimum, you will have to take a small blade or file and open up the groove so that it is large enough to accommodate the string. Ideally you should also do a little jawari work too, but often you can dispense with this.

Peace

David Courtney
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YoungPanditNS3

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Well, I don't have experience working with the jawari, I will keep it at the khan tuning, what key are most khan sitars tuned in? thankyou!
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
Anywhere between C# to D is common in that gharana. My teacher uses maybe 10 percent above C#, some players are closer to D, but standard C# is fine.
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YoungPanditNS3

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Reply with quote  #6 
thanks, it is a khan sitar so should I take off the second string?
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nicneufeld

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "YoungPanditNS3"
thanks, it is a khan sitar so should I take off the second string?
By khan you mean in the style of Vilayat Khan (ie., of the Imdadkhani school) I'm assuming, so the stringing requires six main strings rather than seven. The second string, depending which way you are starting from, is the same regardless of style. Although generally the Vilayat Khan style sitars use the "3rd string" peg for the 2nd string, skipping the other forward facing peg. Which peg you use doesn't affect things too much. Google search for Vilayat Khan tuning for a more thorough description of the tuning style. Good luck!
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povster

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "YoungPanditNS3"
Hi, I have a 12 sypethetic string khan sitar, is it possable to tune it to c#? or should I just leave it in c ?
thank you for your time!
regards,
Hello YoungPandit. You are asking about changing from Vilayat Khan (aka Ghandar/Pancham) tuning to Ravi Shankar (aka Kharaj/Pancham tuning). But you seem to be focusing on what pitch to tune your sitar. The tuning of a VK vs RS style sitar is not dependent on the pitch for Sa. Your particular instrument should dictate which sounds best.

As David mentioned, the "Ravi Shankar" (actually Kharaj/Pancham) style tuning is dependent on the stringing. The Kharaj/Pancham has two extra bass strings...usually a 22 bronze for the third string and a 28 bronze (or sometimes brass) for the 4th, deepest bass string. That is what determines a Kharaj/Pancham sitar.

If you are just interested in wondering if you can up your Sa to C# over C natural, then yes, you should be able to safely tune your sitar to C#. But the basic pitch of Sa does not dictate whether you have "Ravi Shankar" (Kharaj/Pancham) or Vilayat Khan (Ghandar/Pancham) tuning. The presence of the two bass strings dictates the Kharaj/Pancham tuning. The absence of the two bass strings and the presence of a fourth chikari string that is tuned usually to Gha, Ma or Pa depending on the raga) dictates the Ghandar/Pancham tuning.

Note there are other structural differences between the two but as far as stringing and tuning goes, the above is accurate.

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Dasani - the official bottled water of ICM
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