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povster

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have been trying to play the surbahar rudra vin style (when my left hand allows it - the neck width is still to great for how healed the hand is).

But something was dawning on me.

It seems to make sense to use index/middle finger for the main string action on a rudra vin. For one simple reason: the strings are in reverse order. The bajtar (main playing string) is on the rudra vin where the kharaj (bass string) is on the sitar.

Can you imagine doing fast taans, complex jor with mirs, compositions etc. using the index finger (sitar style) on the sitar if the main string order were reversed and the bajtar were closest to the player?

I have no basis for this but am wondering if this style of playing the rudra vin (3 fingered) evolved from the placement of the playing strings.

And wondering if the style of playing the sitar with one finger evolved for the same reason - the bajtar is now placed furthest from the player, allowing full up/down motion when stroking.

Since the surbahar is strung sitar style, it actually would seem to make more sense to play it sitar style as far as the stroking goes.

I know some may see this a blasphemous but the camps do seem split: some surbahar players play vin style and some sitar style.

So just curious about string placement of the main playing strings and its impact on the mizrab style.

ALSO - Has anyone seen a surbahar with the strings reversed so it is strung like a rudra vina? In that case I could see a truly valid reason for playing it vina style.

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luvdasitar

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Reply with quote  #2 
dare I say that playing the surbahar in the rudra vin style only makes sense if you plan on graduating to the rudra vin at some point. Also are there not senia player who still play the sitar in the rudra vin style ?
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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #3 
"graduate" to rudra veena? Hmmm...sounds rather denigrating.

I think players who lean towards the veena-style do so because of their teacher/gharana (Pt. Pushparaj Koshti who studied with Ust. Z.M. Dagar). I don't feel at the moment a longing for the veena. As a matter of fact I haven't even touched one in my life. Maybe also because I don't want to switch instruments again (after my switch from sitar to surbahar)

Mind you playing veena opens a whole can of worms when it comes to fingering; the traditional veena is played with two right handed fingers while the Dagar style veena is played ith 3. Because of the shifted playing position (tumba from leftshoulder to left knee) the basic fingering changed (drastically I might say...).

And yep ... off course changing the stringorder changes even more...

But...when I see/hear Baha'uddin play my surbahar (with his bare fingers....3 fingerstye) I'm amazed by the stuff he pulls out of the instrument.

Remco
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povster

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Reply with quote  #4 
OK - before this starts to get off topic (so to speak)

I really am wondering more about the historical development of the 3 finger vs the one finger playing styles (vin vs sitar) and how the string placement of the respective instruments may have impacted that. And if there are some reverse string surbahars out there strung, like a rudra vin, with the main playing string closest to the musician.

This is not a a vlue judgement type thing - which is better etc. Just wondering about the impact of the string placements vs the playing technique.

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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #5 
Steve Landsberg is the authority on this subject. Someone should invite him in...Maybe I will.
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #6 
Sorry for my ignorance on the subject, but could you briefly describe what the Three finger style consists of. I was trying to picture it and I cant. What does it help you achieve that you can't get with a single Mizrab. Does it work on the sitar?
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povster

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "cwroyds"
Sorry for my ignorance on the subject, but could you briefly describe what the Three finger style consists of. I was trying to picture it and I cant. What does it help you achieve that you can't get with a single Mizrab. Does it work on the sitar?
Instead of a single finger doing up/down (da/ra) and chicari, the rudra vin and some surbahar players use the index finger and mifddle finger - one for the da and one for the ra stroke. And the little finger for the chicaris.

Note there is no upstroke here. Both index and middle finger play da strokes.

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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've already mentioned this way of playing in other posts, but a short recap; I feel my righthand is more relaxed when playing "veena-style"; it seems to devide the different tasks that normally on sitar only one finger does to 3 fingers. I think Suvir also mentioned when playing veena the whole coordination changed and I must agree with him. In particular when I play jhor and jhalla I seem to achieve this "floaty" feel easy. When playing sitar style this jumping from playing string to chikari gives a totally different feel.

Also the string distance (from main string to chikari) is bigger on surbahar than on sitar, so you even have to make a bigger jump. When playing the veena-way this is avoided because your pinky is already hoovering over the chikaris.
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mike hooker

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Reply with quote  #9 
my teacher studied with the dagars, and tried to get me to play my surbarhar
veena style. i gave it a go, and found it barely comfortable. i finally gave up, as i found it too hard to play chikari. the distance between the Ma string and chikari strings made it too tough to get a nice chikari sound. it is a long stretch between those strings, and very tough on the hand. on the veena, the Ma string and chikaris are much closer to each other. he also emphasised striking the chikaris and the Ma string at the same time. touch to get the hang of, especially on a surbahar with the large distance the hand needs to span. i was able to do it, but very poorly, and i didnt see myself getting any better, its back to sitar style for me.
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luvdasitar

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Reply with quote  #10 
If you look at Buddhaditya Mukherjee's site and also I think Shahid jee's website, you will see that one of the main contributions of the Imdad Khani gharana(it is claimed) is the development of the 'sitar style' of playing for the sitar and the surbahar. It is claimed that until that point the sitar was played the same way as the been, due to the fact that most sitarists learned from beenkars.
Now I dont know who did 'invent' that style of playing, but it seems to me it was done with the realisation that the surbahar/sitar were essentially different beasts compared to the ridra vin.
Which style is 'better' is probably best left to personal choice.
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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hey-
I received a email reply from Landsberg Sahib-

I would love to discuss the 3 mizrab thing with anyone who is interested but
I am not so much into the discussion world at chandrakant. Please feel free
to give my email ad to anyone who has some questions about it.

Best wishes for your good riyaz,

Steve


So.......if you want the dirt, heres his email-

slandsberg@ragascape.com

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luvdasitar

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have another question, on a topic that may or may not be related (moderators please feel free to move if u think its diverging). I was talking to a japanese freind of mine and she had gone to a recent Ustad Asad Ali Khan concert in Japan. She said that he was accompanied by his son on a 'big sitar', I am assuming a Surbahar , and a tabla ??? First, is it common practise to have a vin-surbahar duet. And how often is a tabla used as percussion as opposed to Pakhawaj, which I thought was the principal percussion instrument for dhrupad.
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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #13 
I've got several recordings of Ust. Bahauddin Dagar and surbaharplayer Pt. Pushparaj Koshti. A very nice blending of the two instruments; very clear the surbahar, in this case, is imitating rudra veena. I've also witnessed a concert form Ust. Z.F. Dagar where he was accompanied by a very low tuned tabla. I think the thekas are different on tabla compared to pakhawaj, since the player played something different that Ust. expected. Don't know for sure...maybe someone of the tablaforum can jump in help me out on this one.
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