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barend

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am practicing power strokes again lately. You know; striking the pickguard with a forceful Ra stroke.

I am wondering what the 'rules' of the bols/strokes are when you apply these power strokes.

A few examples:
1) Say when you play a power Ra stroke on the odd numbers. Let's say you play the stroke on every third note SSS, RRR etc. Do you play Da, Da, Ra? or Da, Ra, Ra?
2) when you play a power stroke on every first note of a repeating group a four notes. Do you reverse the stroke so it becomes Ra, Da, Ra, Da? or maybe Ra, Da, Da, Da?
3) Now you play a power stroke on every third note of a group of four. Do you play Da, Ra, Ra, Da? or Da, Da, Ra, Ra?

I can give more examples but I think you get the idea.
How have you been taught this? Is it just personal preference or are there any basic rules?
Not many teachers talk about this is my experience. Not sure why not because it's part of the repertoire.
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Tomek Regulski

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Reply with quote  #2 

So the approach I've been taught when integrating this technique is to look at the particular phrase you are working on, where you want the power stroke to fall, and then arrange the rest of the bol so that this happens economically. Ultimately, this means that you should practice all possible combinations so that you are comfortable with them and also know what is more suitable in various tempi and contexts (i.e. sapat vs. all on one note, syncopated vs straight rhythm, etc). 

Regarding your questions, here are my thoughts:

1) Practice both, as they give different possibilities. Da Da *Ra* will be overall more forceful, whereas Da Ra *Ra* is better if you want to give emphasis to 1 and 3, with 2 being weaker. 
2) Use Ra Da Ra Da if you want the overall phrasing to be balanced. Like Da Da Ra above, Ra Da Da Da will have a more forceful effect - certainly good for jhalla. 
3) I would actually default to flipping the entire bol and doing Ra Da *Ra* Da. I would potentially use Da Ra *Ra* Da if I wanted to give a secondary accent to the first note. Da Da *Ra* Ra comes off as a bit awkward with that repeated Ra. If I wanted the first two notes to be bold, I would probably choose Da Da *Ra* Da, since this is essentially the same as *Ra* Da Da Da from question #2, just shifted over two beats. It's also so similar mechanically to the Da Da Chik Da permutation of the Chik Da Da Da jhalla pattern, which is very common.


Hope that all helps and makes sense. Basically there are no rules, because it all depends on the context. So practice the various patterns you can think of, then analyze some larger phrase that you want to integrate this stroke into. Decide where you want to place your accents, and then shape the rest of the bol pattern around those in the most economical way possible.

It can be an awkward process because this generally means finding a place in the phrase to flip the bol from what you would usually do to whatever will accommodate the power stroke and then flip it back afterward. If there will be a lot of power strokes, then most likely you will play the phrase with the entire bol pattern flipped vs how you would play it without those accents, and then flip it back after the last one. 

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barend

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yes that totally makes sense. I was already doing it like that. I think every player does it their own way. I prefer doing Da Ra Ra instead of Da Da Ra for example. Just comes more natural to me and I have a bit more speed that way.

Also most of the times when improvising, these power strokes are spontaneous decisions. So you do what comes natural at that moment or for that particular phrase or tan. It also depends highly on the phrase or the stroke before the power stroke passage. With what stroke the other phrase ends is of influence on how you start the power stroke phrase. These things can not always be pre planned. More often not I guess. But it is good to have some kind of system for yourself in this. Especially because you have many stroke options to play the same phrase.

So all in all I think you have to find a system that works for YOU. But that goes for many technical things on any instrument.
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Tomek Regulski

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Reply with quote  #4 
Cool - sounds like you're on the right track, then. 

Yes to all your thoughts above. Absolutely - spontaneity is the end goal. However, I find that, especially for this particular element, taking phrases that I already play and using them as exercises to work out the logistics acts as a nice bridge to getting it all up and running.

That's me though - as you say, gotta find what works for you!
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mizrable

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Reply with quote  #5 
ive never heard of this technique called a power stroke
love the name!
are there other power strokes for other bols ?
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Blind Lemon Mike

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Reply with quote  #6 
I know it as a Tabli-Stroke. 

regard
Michael
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barend

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Reply with quote  #7 
I don't think there is an official name for it. Doesn't really matter. I always call it power strokes myself cause that's what it sounds like.

Somehow it's a technique that almost every (pro) sitar player uses but it is hardly discussed. You can't find much info on it.
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mizrable

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Reply with quote  #8 
yeah i like the name
i was calling it open rha but
power stroke is way more cool albeit less descriptive
never really found much use for it in my playing but occasionally its worked its way in there... kinda wrecks yer sympathetic jawari ..
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barend

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Reply with quote  #9 
The only problem I encounter with the power strokes is that my mizrab gets loose sometimes when I use it a lot. Also the power strokes can get really overpowering and loud especially when you use a pickup.

Some famous players use it too much I think and then it can get really distracting and even annoying. I won't mention names.
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Blind Lemon Mike

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Reply with quote  #10 
I agree, as with any "special effet" you shoul use them sparingly, since the effect wears of quite quickly...
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