INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #1 
[size=18]DEAR ALL,

I HAVE BEFORE 10 MONTHS STARTED LEARNING ELECTRONIC KEYABORDS AND WISH TO PLAY INDIAN RAGAS ON IT. HOW CAN I LEARN AND PLAY? CAN SOMBODY 8) GUIDE ME :? FOR THIS. :?:

--- MANISH[/size]
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
Namaste friend

You'll be able to play Indian scales of the ragas but you'll NEVER be able to play Indian ragas as such because the keyboard is unable to produce Sruti or the microtones needed to add personality or depth to the music.
Even if your keyboard has a pitch bender wheel it would be extremely difficult.
Sorry.

Nick
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David Fahrner

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Reply with quote  #3 
Are there any commercially-available electronic keyboards that are specifically designed to play Indian music? (Maybe in India?) It seems that with modern synthesis and control techniques, you could do a pretty good job of playing this kind of music...but there's probably not much of a market for a high-quality (i.e. expesive) instrument like this...I've been thinking about trying to build a MIDI controller that plays like a veena or sitar, sensing tension on the string, which fret is touched, the intensity of string vibration, etc., and sending out the appropriate MIDI code...Joni Mitchell never has to tune her (synthesized) guitar in performance, and with a similar Indian string controller, you could use standard playing techniques (both left- and right-hand), play different ragas without retuning and moving frets, and always have only the correct notes available...

df

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David Fahrner
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zennman

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Reply with quote  #4 
There are a handful of methods to attack the problem of playing microtones on electronic equipments. The only problem that still remains after my repeated attempts, is the playing of true gamakas/meends without sounding jumpy. Here are a few methods to go about the task :

1) Most modern synthesizers allow retuning of the keyboard. You can assign what frequencey each key sounds when pressed. In the synth jargon it is called keyboard mapping. You have 12 keys at your disposal (per octave), and you can choose what keys you want to play (I usually like to play only the white keys, I assign no sound to the black keys), and what frequency each key plays. You have to assign the notes in cents. So instead of playing an equitempered keyboard, you can play a truly just scale.

2) If you are familiar with soft synths and MIDI keyboards, many of the popular soft synths allow keyboard retuning also. I use absynth, and it is supported on it. If your sofsynth does not support it, or if you have an outboard MIDI synth that does not allow retuning, you could get the freeware program called Scala. http://www.xs4all.nl/~huygensf/scala/
Scala lets you modify input MIDI signals to trigger microtones using pithcbend commands. It is the same procedure as described above in point 1.

3) Using re tuned keyboard allows you to play in the scale of a raga, but achieveing the realism and mood may not always be possible.. it may just be a matter of practice and had work. You could do what the Santoorists do to get over the staccato sounds.. hitting multiple notes in succession to give the feeling of a slide. Abhijit Pahonkar (http://www.abhijitpohankar.com/) already plays ragas on keyboards in this manner... chek out how he does it. Another idea to try is to use the Portamento and Glissando options if available on your synth. Portamento settings let you control the speed of slide from one note to another (the notes will no longer sound staccato, rather an unnatural sounding slide will replace the space between notes). The glissando/vibrato lets you control the shake on each note. It might be possible to control portamento (and vibrato if you want) using a MIDI foot controller.

4) Normal pitch bend works only upto one (or two) full tone. So you can never slide from Sa to Ma (even Ga) using the pitch bend wheel. There are ways to extend the range of the pitch bend wheel. You will have to consult the manual of your synth to see how it is done, if it is possible.

MIDI, with a small set of continuous controllers (foot pedal, knobs, sliders..), is the way to go to attain a nominal realization of raga on an electronic instrument.

Hope this helps !
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Drew

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Posts: 214
Reply with quote  #5 
Well,

I have and use a Korg N264 (there is also a smaller verions N364)

http://pitstop.kenjin.net/


It has tons of Indian sounds including Sitar, Tampura, Tabla and others. And each has its own EQ so you can go in and tweak to your liking. Actually, there is so much you can do with this thing that I probably only know 25% of it.. so Im probably missing out on a bunch of cool stuff.

It is also midi compatable and has tons of other things. As far as keyboards go, Ive tried many and this one to me has the best all around sound. Even better than its higher level brothers like the Tritan. The keys are also touch sensative which is an added bonus. It also has a 16 track work station x9 to record songs on as it really is a workstation keyboard.

The only thing the N264 doesnt have is a sampler. (if that matters to you) but, you can buy one seperate to use with it if you like. You can also add on other sounds/effects from the computer via diskette.

However, with electronic anything... you will never get that natural sound and the meends/bends will never be able to be duplicated in full as people mentioned above. But, like the above post said.. you can always start adding some toys, midi, foot pedals to bring you as close as you want to the natural sounds.

I must say though, the sax, flute, rhoads and organ sounds are very good and as realistic as Ive heard for a factory keyboard without any add ons. But, thats not indian so it wont help unless you want to play other stuff as well.

Just go to your local music store and start playing around and asking them questions... they should be able to help you. But, I wouldnt limit your search to just one store or one persons word as I find sometimes those music store guys just dont know very much.

good luck

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barend

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think you can play the srutis, and gamaks with the pitch wheel of your keyboard. if you want...

But.....I have heard some keyboards in Indian light classical music, but I really hated it....as soon as I hear a keyboard in Indian classical I turn the CD off. I am sorry but I just don't like digital sounds in Indian music, it has to be played on an acoustic instruments. But that is just my opinion.
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daz199

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "David
Are there any commercially-available electronic keyboards that are specifically designed to play Indian music? (Maybe in India?) It seems that with modern synthesis and control techniques, you could do a pretty good job of playing this kind of music...but there's probably not much of a market for a high-quality (i.e. expesive) instrument like this...I've been thinking about trying to build a MIDI controller that plays like a veena or sitar, sensing tension on the string, which fret is touched, the intensity of string vibration, etc., and sending out the appropriate MIDI code...Joni Mitchell never has to tune her (synthesized) guitar in performance, and with a similar Indian string controller, you could use standard playing techniques (both left- and right-hand), play different ragas without retuning and moving frets, and always have only the correct notes available...

df
that sounds verryyy interesting 8)
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justjim

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #8 
Joni Mitchell never has to tune her (synthesized) guitar in performance

Her guitar system isn't an actual MIDI/synthesized guitar, it's a VG-8 "virtual guitar" system.

Unlike a 'pitch to control' be it a voltage or MIDI (or "pitch to glitch" as the joke goes in the guitar synth community :wink: ) - the VG-8 is, esentially an "fx processor per string" system...the altered tunings are achieved by pitch shifting the strings an individual amount
(what this buys you in terms of tuning stability is that you aren't altering the tension on the neck, the string doesn't bind in the nut, etc - So the baseline tuning is more stable and the altered tuning is derived from that)

The difference is that the VG-8 (now VG-88 ) modifies the strings sound as opposed to extracting pitch information and using it to control synthetic oscillators.
the up side is you don't get the glitching and a lot of the nuance that a pure guitar synth (GR-700,GR-1,GR-30, etc) leaves behind is preserved in the VG-8


The down side is, while the VG-8 uses MIDI for program change data, etc it doesn't send note information down the pipe

historical note : this isn't the first time Roland took this approach. When the GR-300 came out, the blue box guys like Fripp used, there was also the GR-100 "electronic guitar"...unike the 300, the 100 was a hexaphonic fuzzbox with filters to give "synth-like" sounds without the technical problems of actual synthesis


It might be getting a little left of field (sorry abt that guys, didn't mean t o drag off the original topic) - so feel free to shoot me off forum (or better yet, start a thread specifically on this!) if you want to explore the idea

I've use guitar synth technology (Esp the older stuff) from time to time and might be able to lend you some help (well, at least a perspective) on some of the practical issues, etc

I would think our forum host might also have some perspective on various issues!
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David Fahrner

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Posts: 36
Reply with quote  #9 
That's some good info, jj...I knew that Ms. Mitchell's Roland system was not MIDI/synth-based, but didn't know what the technology was...so the next question is, has anyone installed a VG-88 pickup on a sitar? How does it handle pitch changes due to pulling sideways on the guitar string (or does it handle them at all) and could it deal with the much wider-range meends on a sitar?

df

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David Fahrner
Terrebonne, Oregon
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justjim

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #10 
The roland system handles pitch bend. The range shouldn't present a problem as they are designed to work with guitars fitted with things such as a Floyd Rose "whammy bar" (which makes for a huge bend range)

The pickup itself doesn't really do any processing, it is simply an array of tiny humbucking pickups...all the procesing takes place in the box.


historical note, the old 24-pin system compatible with the GR-300 actually had the hex-fuzz generator in the guitar controller in the G202/303/505/808 series guitars, but that's a much older system


Here's the pinout

1 hi E (1st string)
2 B
3 G
4 D
5 A
6 E
7 mono gtr signal
8 synth vol
9 N.C.
10 Switch 1
11 Switch 2
12 + power
13 - power
Sleeve/case GND

The processing is done on the audio signal, so the unit doesn't really care how the change in pitch happens

Where you CAN run into a problem is string excursion...the string vibrating/getting pulled out of the field of its individual pickup or into the field of a neighbor pickup....this is why those pickups are mounted to close to the bridge.
(note with the piezo units like the ones in, say, Godin guitars are on ome violin family instruments, this isn't a problem due to the nature of the pickup)
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justjim

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #11 
Oops - sorry if that wass TMI or in the wrong direction...I just want to make sure we are on the same page as far as how those things operate so that
1) you aren't disappointed
2) I figure tthere is going to be some adaptive engineering going on, so I wanted to help with the technical mintuia where I can (since I have little else to offer)

let me know if there is anything I can help you with there
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