INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

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shagird

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Reply with quote  #1 
I prefer pulling up my kurta/shirt sleeves and resting my bare elbow on the tumba. I feel I get a better surface grip this way. This obviously has the french polish peeling off at that spot but I guess it can't be helped.

I haven't seen any performing artists do this and am wondering how many fellow sitarists feel and do the same??
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
Very Good Point this!!!

A good connection has to be made as we have to hold the sitar in perfect control or it slips.

Ravi uses a cloth. I started using a cloth on occasion too. Bare skin to gourd would seem to be best, certainly to me anyway.


My black Ustadji started to bubble up a little too at the forearm connection. Someone mentioned on another post about this being because the sitar isn't properly finished/painted or seasoned.

Nick
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #3 
I too have a black gayaki hemen, first rate finish, so not sure it happens only to poorly finished ones...
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #4 
Poorly finished may well be the case but its sound is marvellous. This is the one that had its gourd broken when I sent it back from Varanasi earlier this year. After I reglued the cracks I sanded it down & will now respray it black.

Mind you, I'm such a hot player, it was probably the heat. :wink:

I have a beautiful 45 year old sitar which has wear marks where the feet touched the tabli too.

Nick
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
After I reglued the cracks I sanded it down & will now respray it black
Trippyji, You'd do that yourself? What stuff and proportions (would u brew the potion yourself or would you buy ready-to-apply stuff) would you use? If it aint very radical, I'll try it out too
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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #6 
My Surbahars have thick ornaments and somehow sharp ridges are in the same position I rest my forearm. Right now I use one of the rubbermats I use for under the tumba (to prevent slipping) folded up to rest my fore arm up...work very well...

Remco
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Surbaharplayer"
My Surbahars have tick ornaments and somehow sharp ridges are in the same position I rest my forearm. Right now I use one of the rubbermats I use for under the tumba (to prevent slipping) folded up to rest my fore arm up...work very well...

Remco
Just curious - how does it feel like to hold a surbahar; does it feel like holding a heavier sitar or does one immediately know that it's a surbahar (assuming that one is familiar with both)? I believe the tumba has a flatter profile in surbahars(?)
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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #8 
Holding a surbahar is actually easier than a sitar. The gourd is cut differently so you don't have the round belly of a sitar tumba. But the main reason it plays easier is the small stand/leg/rest on the lowerside of the tumba. When positioned at the right spot it keeps the instrument in the right position. (I've one instrument where the rest is in a different spot: pain the neck...literally...) I know there are some players that play surbahar in the sitarposition; resting the instrument on the foot...

Originally the surbahar was played in a different position:

http://home.versatel.nl/surbahar/history.htm

But before I got a surbahar many people warned me it was a difficult istrument to play... I'm 6 foot 6 and a surbahar actually feels more natural and easier to play than sitar.

Remco
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hello all again

Some people hold a surbahar at 45 degrees to the floor & have a special stand, mentioned before, that sits the instrument on the floor.
Mine is positioned a little more horizontal so it's less like a Rudra Vina & more like Vilayat Khan's sitar. I was asked to sit with it as the builder marked where the 'foot/stand' would go.
I have, at other times, placed the tumba on my foot. This can also feel a bit more 'personal' too. I felt somehow nearer to the instrument. 8)
A French guy I met in Varanasi sat like Asad Ali Khan & played his more like a Rudra Vina.

As with friend Remco, like the website BTW, I'm a bit bigger than a skinny person so surbahar suits me fine too. I fall more in love with it as the days/practices go by.
I was there at the music shop in Varanasi as it was being put together so I always referred to it as 'mere lal' or 'mera baccha'.
It has a gorgeous tone even for a new instrument. I can't wait for it to get even better as the years go by.
My first surbahar, which I'm now selling as the new one is more to my taste, is longer than regular & has a chunkier gourd as opposed to the rounder, flatter new one. It's quite unusual & unique.There's a pic on

http://www.trippymonkey.myphotoalbum.com

under the selling folder.

Dost Shagird
I used superglue to fix the cracks with brown tacky tape to pull the bits together. This can be easily removed without reopening the cracks.
I'll use a car spray of gloss black & sparingly finish then. I stripped the gourd last night & am leaving it a while to dry out before I sand finish & respray.

Best to have another sitar to play with & take your time with the one you're fixing.

Nick
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Surbaharplayer

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Reply with quote  #10 
As Bahuddin Dagar told me: the traditional sitting position stems from older times when musicians (Rudra Veena-players) were playing in temples; it was seen as indecent when sitting in a position where you would show your bare feet.

Remco
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #11 
As a slight sidestep, it would be interesting to find out why people consider the soles of the feet somehow 'unworthy'.
Obviously this applies only to humankind as I don't think God has a problem with his creation.

This has a relevance to this forum as we know about sitting with our feet out straight in front of the guru.

Nick
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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
As a slight sidestep, it would be interesting to find out why people consider the soles of the feet somehow 'unworthy'.
Obviously this applies only to humankind as I don't think God has a problem with his creation.
Because the ground is dirty, and the feet are the part of
the body most often the closest to it, the soles even being
in direct contact with it when one goes barefoot, as many
traditional Indians habitually do.

Much of Hindu thinking in such areas is governed by what
anthropologists call "purity and pollution taboos". These
go far back in history to a time when the Hindus and
Iranians shared a common ancestry, in fact, and various
Iranian groups have similar taboos to this day.

Basically it is all based around a striving to keep separate
the "clean" and "unclean", with human excrement, blood,
sweat, saliva, menstrual flow, cut hair, nail clippings, etc.,
as well as corpses being the major sources of pollution.

What isn't specifically known to be clean must be treated
as unclean, lest one risk having to undergo whichever
purification routine is required should an unsuspected
contaminant later be discovered to have been present.
Therefore the ground, where everything falls including
shed hair and the like, and most especially the ground
outside the home, where it's impossible to know what has
fallen at one point or another, must be especially treated
as unclean.

Such beliefs also play their part in the phenomenon of
untouchability, in which whole tribes of people have come
to be regarded as permanently unclean (some of these
have as their traditional occupation the removal of "night
soil", or the flaying of dead cattle and preparation of the
leather, for example) and thus a source of contamination,
and also in the vegetarianism chosen by so many Hindus,
in which school of thought all flesh food has come to be
regarded as a form of carrion and thus unclean.

Further, these same categories are applied to abstract
relationships, such as seniority, social rank, etc. and all
the same gestures and routines applied to concerns over
literal physical pollution are conflated with them. In this
way, aligning one's least pure, or lowliest, section of the
body with another's most clean, such the head or face,
signifies the inferiority of the latter person to the former.
Note how an Indian touches the foot of a superior when
greeting him and then touches that same hand to his own
head.

The basic underlying concepts aren't really all that unique
to India, if you stop to think about it. How would we feel
if someone were to try to hold us on the ground with his
foot on our head or throat? I'm sure we would all consider
it more than just an awkward and uncomfortable position
to be in, but would moreover feel that it was an attempt
to humiliate us and rob us of our dignity. Think also of
such insulting expressions as "Kiss my foot", or the worse
"Kiss my *ss"!

David
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #13 
David

About as concise an answer as I could've hoped for. Many thanks.
I often wonder how much 'tier-related' baggage we humans drag along with us.

Unfortunately, as you so rightly point out, it went a bit far with the 'Untouchables' thing.

Nick
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Monica

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Reply with quote  #14 
On the feet topic, I have a two postcards of Durga sitting on her tiger, with the sole of one of her feet pointing directly at the viewer. (One of them can just barely be made out here --WARNING-- exposed sole of foot, may not be work safe! http://www.mysticalrosestudios.com/graphics/Greeting_Cards_Web/GC654.jpg )

I was actually a little shocked when I first noticed that feature of the painting, for it seemed so odd in the context of Indian culture. (I also have a larger print where her foot is oriented away from the viewer, so the pose definitely has variation, even when you can tell the paintings derive from one another).

Anyhow, with this exposed foot sole postcard I had wondered if maybe a western artist had adapted a Hindu painting without awareness of the foot issue. But the other card I have with an exposed foot sole WAS printed in India.

???

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