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bsmith

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi,

I just purchased a sitar and I'm having a setup issue. I can't quite figure out how the chikari strings go. I see two white pegs of different heights that go with the strings. I see two chikari strings. I can't see to string them up so that they sound right. How do the chikari strings coordinate with the white pegs I see. Thanks.

Also, if anyone know of a sitar instructor in Massachusetts, I'd appreciate the contact info.
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katyrow

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Reply with quote  #2 
Holding the sitar in playing position, the top chic is the highest pitch and goes over the post closest to the bridge. Tune it to C#. The string directly below it goes over the second post (the one farther from the bridge and closer to the nut). Tune it to C#, an octave lower than the first chic. If you have three chics, the next one goes over the first slot on the nut, or sometimes a hole drilled in the nut. Tune it to G# for now, but that will change later, depending on the rag.

For more instruction on tuning, search YouTube for Max Flury Tuning a Sitar. Really terrific. If you have an iPhone or iPad, there are two apps you should consider. The first is Samvada, which will help you tune the sympathetics (and will tell you the notes in a particular rag). Just type in the name of the rag and take if from there. The second app is iStrobosoft, which is a tuner app, together with the "world" "sweetener" for the app. It has a sitar preset that is set to pure tone intervals. The only caution is that the app suggests using "transpose" to set to C# instead of C. I get better results by setting the root to C# and leaving transpose alone. The app is good for initial tuning, for adjusting pegs and beads while you are playing, and to help you at first in hitting the right pitch when you pull.

You do need at least a handful of lessons to get started and to keep from getting frustrated. If you play guitar, there are a number of things you'll have to unlearn and get out of the habit of (like vibrato). Good luck! It will be a very satisfying experience in a shorter period of time than you might expect.
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trippymonkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
And NOT using all the fingers of your left fretting hand either.!!!! If you're right handed !!
Keep your first & middle finger strong by concentrating on only those, at least for now.

Little finger can be used for flicking the last one or two taraf under the frets, usually around the SA fret.

Vibrato ?!?!?! YES !!! NO boioioioing please ?!!??

Nick

Never let ANYTHING get you down. Simply put the sitar down & go & have a chai, if you get Peed Off at any time ?!!? 8)
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #4 
Here's a list of MA teachers that our host has put together:
http://chandrakantha.com/teachers/teach_music_massachusetts.html

Can't vouch for them but here's one for sitar:
Quote:
Name: Sonny Lalchandani
Email: sonny.r@gmail.com
Field: sitar, sarod
Area: Bay Area, CA and Boston, MA or Skype
Telephone: 650-504-0334
Misc info: Studies at New England Conservatory in Contemporary Improvisation. Lessons with Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pandit Habib Khan, and Pandit Shekhar Borkar. Both Western and Eastern training in music.
Skype learning (or Google Hangouts, which is what I use with my teacher) works great, but its usually best to learn in 1st person at the very beginning for a few lessons to get all the physical things sorted out...posture, etc...also so your teacher can inspect the instrument as well.

Off topic admittedly, but I know what you guys are saying about vibrato. I watched a video the other day of someone playing a sitar and eeesh, the vibrato, it was awful. It's like reciting Kipling in a west Texas accent, or something....just immediately sounds accented, foreign, and off. I don't know what you call the gamak for that slight, slower shimmer that almost is equivalent to Western vibrato...I tend to use it particularly on low komal Ga on the Sa string, just seems to need that pulsing sound, on some raags. But its very different than the guitarist vibrato we're bemoaning here!
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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "nicneufeld"
I don't know what you call the gamak for that slight, slower shimmer that almost is equivalent to Western vibrato...I tend to use it particularly on low komal Ga on the Sa string, just seems to need that pulsing sound, on some raags.
Sounds like andolan.

David
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trippymonkey

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Reply with quote  #6 
D
Yes but there really isn't an equivalent in western tradition. Andolan literally means 'swinging' which, for me, sounds SOOO beautiful on surbahar or kharaj sitars !!! 8)
If you want to hear MAD super quick continuous 'pulls' then it good old Ustad Shahid Parvez for me.

Did you all know I was at one of his workshops in Varanasi on my last trip? He says to me 'You come in front of me & play'. I then quickly returned from the toilet, LOL, & spent 2 hours trying to tune a gorgeous Black Ustadji, as we now call all black mundas. Bloody nerves ?!?!? :roll:
He never said a word about what I played but said, after a quite good alap my friend there said, 'why does everybody play alap etc?' He then proceeded to give me 350 swar taan to repeat back to him AAAGGGHHH ?!!?? Love the confidence !!
Thing is, I knew when I'd played it wrong & restarted. I said ' I must write it down'. This was countered with ' Are you telling me how to teach you??????? , Kabhi Nahi Khan Sahb ?!?!?
I DO have all the offending evidence as I was allowed to video the workshop AND that night's WONDERFUL concert.
It's only until nearly NOW do I realise he must have thought I was 'holding back' on him as he said afterwards, 'I was trying to pull you out ' :wink: The organiser, the lovely Shrabani Biswas, told me later Khan Sahb must've seen something in my playing & did indeed try to pull me out. YEAH Out the class & in the street ?!!?? LOL

Nick
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CheesecakeTomek

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Reply with quote  #7 
You should try e-mailing Peter Row: http://www.peterrow.com/index.php?/music/contact/

He is on faculty of the New England Conservatory and is a known scholar on Hindustani Music. He knows many sitarists throughout MA and has set up some of my friends with very good teachers. From what I hear he is a nice guy and happy to help
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katyrow

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Reply with quote  #8 
Also, I believe that Ustad Imrat Khan still teaches via Skype. He's a terrific person and a wonderful, very patient teacher.

E-Mail and Website
imrat@imratkhan.com
sitar@imratkhan.com
http://www.imratkhan.com
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #9 
I can attest to the above Been learning from Ustad-ji on a weekly basis since 2011. Can't say what his schedule is like these days (ie., adding new students) but perhaps worth a shot...
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