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sitarman

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Posts: 599
Reply with quote  #1 
Just curious, how many of you are tuning SA to western C#, and how many to D? (and any othrer pitches?) I am asssuming everyone is using a .012 for the playing string, for a reference as to string tension at these different pitches. Also, if you are tuning to D, is it because of

A- you like the sound at this higher tension on your instrument...
B- you fell in love with the brighter sound of, for instance, Shahid Parvez' instrument
C- you prefer the feel of the higher tensioned baj.
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello again

I tune my Black Beauty Ustadji to about C#. When I was in Varanasi & up to a point in Goa, I had it tuned about D. When I retuned to C# my tabla player said the sitar just 'opened up'.

D seems rather high especially if one has a heavy first string.
The lighter construction of a 'gayaki' sitar may not stand the extra pressure of D for too long anyway. I daren't risk it as it got damaged when I sent it back to the UK from India

Nick
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Drew

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Posts: 214
Reply with quote  #3 
C# for me.

I do change to C and D sometimes but, I prefer C#. Sometimes when playing with others, I have to tune to D.
Now with the colder weather approaching, I will try to stay away from D if I can as to not stress the Sitar.

I find that the Sitar sounds too much like a guitar or western instrument when tuned to D. Its a little too tight and doesnt open up as much.

I do enjoy changing pitch at times though because it feels like a different instrument and makes the playing seem fresh and new.

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element-82

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Reply with quote  #4 
I used to be a D advocate mostly because my first teacher played in D and it really brought my old sitar to life. Then once I met Anwarbhai and Ustadji, I used D less a minor 3rd or so (I think that is the correct term), mostly because I had to change it for lessons. Now I am back in C#. This is just a personal preference. I find D -1/3 hard to tune by ear. I need to use electronic taan pura and set the offset. Looking at this pattern, I think I will be a C soon.

Pb

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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #5 
I stick to D usually. Sometimes I tune to C# and the string feels really wobly and wonky, how's that for musical terms. I feel the response is better with the strings being a little tighter/higher tuned.
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sitarman

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Posts: 599
Reply with quote  #6 
Since I started this thread I should tell my setup-
I have tuned to C# for at least a decade, and my MPS sounds great at that. I had to tune to D for some east/west studio work recently so I used my Hiren Roy so I would not have to change the MPS back and forth. It took a bit of getting used to, but WOW did the tarafs sing out at D ! It seems there is a current tread among gayaki players to go to D, (SP and Shujaat Khan to name a couple) so I don't think the assessment that gayaki sitars have a problem with the tension is correct. It IS a different sound for sure. For volume, given different tunings on any given instrument, a stiffer string will always be louder than a looser string- it's just physics. So the higher tuning does offer more power, so to speak.
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daz199

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Posts: 431
Reply with quote  #7 
usually i'm at D, because i try to play some shahid parvez lick's

i'll tune to C# from time to time tho
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Stuti

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Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #8 
I did tune my Sitar to D because of my teacher. But now I keep it at c#. After reading all the pro's and cons on this forum. When I change my strings I will go back to D. The higher tone for some reason 1: feels cheerful when I meditate with the instrument. 2: I did notice the Sympathetic strings ring out more. Someone though did bring out a point about the cold weather. I would like to know more about this so I'm going to make a post on that subject. As far as the varnish marks, I have already ripped apart the fret tying string on two frets. The marks were so deep it was frustrating. I wanted to take all the frets off and just sand the neck down to the wood and apply a polyurethane coat, but for fear of melting the decoration and I'm no good at fret tying another post soon, (Yes I saw the pictures available on some of the web sites they still confused me) I decided to leave it alone. ( cluck cluck, I know Chicken).
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Andius

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Posts: 84
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Sitarman,

Used to tune my Sa to B#; always liked lower pitch (Surbahar-wallah at heart? ). But realized this is too low for string guage and my sitar construction, so now tune between C-C#. Chikaris sing better. Would not consider tuning Sa up to D, as my sitar seems to have been made for C-C# pitch. Really alive. I know some trends are up to D but just cannot relate personally to that higher pitch, and would be concerned with excess tension and string breakages (of which I have had none).

Just seen another post (not read it yet) about weather (temperature?) affecting tuning. Seems to be usual expansion/contraction of metal at varying temperatures. I've noticed if I tune Sa to exactly C plus 25cents, a later 10C drop in temperature makes the strings shrink/tighten until Sa is pitched higher at C plus 50cents. Not so bad as it might seem as all strings, even the tarafs, seem to tighten up at the same rate, so all are still more or less in tune with each other.
For which I'm most gratefull!!!. Shows just how well designed the sitar, especially the taraf string lengths, really is.

Andius.
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indrajit12sitar

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Posts: 71
Reply with quote  #10 
Sitarman: Good topic.

Other replies are very informative. There seems to be only two categories: C sharp and D.

Now for me:

My sitar orginally from India (HR-84) was C sharp; the one I bought here (HR-2005) is D. But I change the tune of this one between C sharp and D. I feel very hard to pull when it is D but sound is more audible and draw your attention.

A question:

I am just curious to know for a given string type, string diameter; sitar type and age of sitar: Is there any effect of frequency of sa pitch on meend (other than than just better sound) ? I mean to say if someone set the sa at 'B' and play for sometime, and then set it at 'D', and then play the same ragas. Is there any difference in depth of the meend. Does the quality of meend get affected if we set sa pitch at very high ? What is the highest?

Another question:

Does the changing of Sa pitch between C or D once a month affect the sitar ?


thanks again-

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