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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #31 
Hey, no problem,
I want this knowledge to be public domain, instead of keeping these ideas hidden, otherwise these techniques might become lost. There are barely any of definitions on the internet of this stuff, let alone musical examples.I would definitely recommend getting the Techniques of Sitar book, it has all the essential Ragas, around 35 in all, with a maseet-khani gat, and reza-khani gat, each with five todas, scale exercises in each raga, and alap, jor, and, simple jhalas examples for just about all the Ragas, but beware of mistakes, the material has to be gone through with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is correct, especially in Ragas that take two forms of a particular note, (Hamir, Kedar, Jaijaivanti) The Guthava examples can be applied to any Raag just make it work with the scale, Try the last two Guthava taans in Bhimpalasi, those are 32 notes! For a while I was practicing these in Malkauns, they really program the mental computer. I haven't practiced these in complex Raags yet, the Guthava idea has to be adapted a bit, but when your at that point, the player should have the musical maturity to make the basic exercises work and be musical, (not that I am there or anything), but just an ideal.
Maybe try listening to a favorite recording and transcribing some taans.
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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #32 

I noticed in this video Musthaq Ai Khan plays many of the alap strokes with ra. After thinking about it, using ra makes
sense, because the ra stroke follows the direction the string will move with meend, allowing for just a bit more sustain.
I tried practicing ra on ascending meends and da with descending which makes the string vibraton direction follow the meending motion direction,
SRgm mGRS , RGmP PmGR
ra---- da---- ra---- da----

Ok, so now a theory on the 2 finger ascending technique,
In the book, the second finger always lands on a ra in even grouped paltas, which would allow for cleaner meend executuion in taans. and the uneven grouped paltas still follows the 12 ascending fingering but the second finger has to shift back which is awkward, and won't be used in actual performance. But this fingering practices the skill of shifting to 2 finger to a lower note (landing point) from a higher note, in instances where meend will be used immediately after the shift. If that makes sense.

Bandyopadhyaya writes his first teacher was Abhaya Charan Chakraborty (has anybody heard of this guy?), who was a student of Barkat Ullah Khan, who was a top sitar played in the early 1900s, BUK was a direct relative of the inventor of the Maseet-Khani style. The only recording of BUK,
,

MAK's teacher was his father who learned from BUK,
So either the ascending finger was a idiosyncrasy of Bandyopadhyaya's teaching or maybe it was something he learned from his teacher, who knows, MAK doesn't use the fingering. But I think the point is that in taans it helps if the meend is on a ra stroke with the second finger, it just feels right.

Holy crap, I don't why I am so obsessed with this freakin book and the fingering, sorry!
This is the only place I can discuss this stuff.
Any and all comments are welcome
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barend

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Reply with quote  #33 
Good observation about the Ra stroke in Alap! I have seen more players doing this (also the third player in that video). Although 90% of the players use only Da strokes I think. It is purely for sound reasons I think. The Ra stroke sounds a bit rounder and you want that round sound for alap. Don't think it has to do with meend direction or anything.

I think you are over analyzing this by making the connection with the two finger technique in tans. That is purely a coincidence I think and I don't think players think that way.

It is not so hard to shift back with the second finger in descending tans I think. So for me it makes more sense to also apply it to descending tans and not only ascending. If I use the two finger technique at all. For most part it is 'normal' technique.
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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #34 
Here is a link to the fingering section,
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/36fq0ez4evftgup/AAAHN0DuePK-GyY_DtkarE8Va
I think it makes more sense if you use meend along with this, especially on the uneven grouping (3,5,7)

The Alap, Jor, Thonk Jhala sections,
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/9avuxdphzhq8p9i/AAA-D_MHFYjM00sGZ6ZKS5c2a

Ladi, Guthava, Larlapet, Larguthava,
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/9x17us93w7liox6/AAAtoHnenhgb4qgfQFCCvCkja

What are your thoughts on this stuff?
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barend

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Reply with quote  #35 
Thanks for sharing!!! some interesting and unusual things in there for sure.

My main question is if there are (well known) sitar players who employ this two finger technique? Is there a certain 'school' or 'gharana' that advocates this?

I have been playing through all the examples. A few observations:
1) I don't get it why he is using a two finger technique when ascending and using a one finger technique when descending the scale. Why not use the two finger system also when going down? That makes more sense to me. Is he explaining that somewhere in his book?
2) The use of only Ra strokes is interesting (and useful for practice).
3) I don't understand the notation and meaning of part 3) of Thonk Jhala. I have no idea what he is trying to do there and what is has to do with Jhala. Is the dire the regular stroke on the main string? and what does he mean by Ra---? and what about rrrrrrrr?
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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #36 
Yeah alot of the things he explains are vague. But I think the core of the ideas are mostly good, I have a feeling like in translating these concepts and thinking patterns from Hindi to English, may have been a problem, lost in translation.

I have found that using 2 fingers along with meend on ascent quiets the left hand motion and makes the lines more legato, because you don't have to shift for every single note. If you try do 2 fingers descending it doesn't really work any better than the traditional 1 finger because you have to shift farther to catch the lower note with the middle finger, which ends up sounding more choppy than 1 all the way down. When you go up stairs the fastest way is 2 feet, but the quickest way down is to fall.

Try to play a simpe murchana in bilawal with 8 notes to a beat at 70 or 80 bpm with one finger no meend. It is almost impossible, but if you use 2 fingers and either do a 5 or 3 note meend on the 4th note or 6th note, it is easier. That opening section is just the basic idea for a beginning student, but it is a useful thing to have in the "toolbox" of techniques, alot of the time prescriptive rules go out the window in the heat of the moment. You learn the rules and concepts, only to forget them and go by feel and intuition in peformance.

I think the bol "Gha" and "Na" was used for recitation purposes on Veena and Rabab, and maybe Pakhawaj?
The examples here are not the most clear, but if you keep in mind that the pattern should be 16 beats than you can sift through those and make them fit 16 beats.

The last examples are just, or you can leave out the T and just do all chicari)
VVVV Tccc cccc cccc
VVVV VVVV Tccc Tccc
VVVV VVVV VVVV Tccc

Those are totally from Ravab because the main picking pattern is opposite "ridi ridi" which makes the strike easier to get.
Defitnion of Thonk from "Dictionary of Hinustani music" by Bimalkant Roychaudhuri,
Here is the link, http://camitava.0catch.com/articles/stages.htm, defintion below,

"All angas of alaap beginning with this one fall into the drut + drut category. In this anga, compound vaanees are used in swaras and jhaalaa is played on chikari alongside. In vocal performance, jhaalaa vaanees such as ``naanaanaanaa'' are used in conjunction with compound vaanees such are ``dretum'' or ``kredhanne''. On instruments, jhaalaa is played along with compound bols such as ``dredaar daar daa daaraa daaraaraaraa''. This anga probably gets its name from the latent sense of hammering (thoka). From this anga, the emphasis shifts from raaga and swara to bol, rhythm etc. The plectrum (jaba, mijraab) normally even strikes the wood of the instrument in this anga."

So I think Thonk Jhala has a more rhythmic, fast paced character than suddh jhala, and bol patterns using "diri" are even used, it is a stage of a full alap.

These are just my opinions and observations, just posting for the sake of discussion
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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #37 

Ok, so the Bandyopadhaya 2 finger ascending is beginning to make more sense for me. Since meend is the one of most (if not the most) important technique of sitar, and gives the music a vocal quality, it should be used as much as possible, (IMHO). And the player should feel as comfortable with meend as playing on the frets. Also, a revelation I had is that when using meend from below, the principal note does not have to sound, you can start from the note above.

Here is this concept in some taans from Raag Behag,

ṆSGm PNṠĠ ṁṖṁĠ ṘṠND PmGR S

1212   131------------111  1111  1

So the player would meend from Re in the 2nd beat, but not let it sound, and start directly from Ga.

Or if comfortable with 5 note meend,

ṆSGm PNṠĠ ṁṖṁĠ ṘṠND PmGR S

1212   112--------------11 1111  1

 

ṆSGm Pm,Gm PNṠN PNṠĠ ṁṖṁĠ ṘṠND PmGR SṆS

12----------12--------131------------111  1111  112

12----------12--------112--------------11  1111  112

Meend starts from Re in the 4th beat, but does not sound in ascent, the meend starts from Ga, or you can do 5 notes at the top.

 

GmGR MPmG NṠND ĠṁĠṘ NṠĠṁ ṖṁĠṘ ṠNDP MPmG SṆS

-------------------------------12-------------111  1211   112

In each ascending figure the meend starts from 2 notes below, the player starts directly on the note, without letting the meend sound from the lower note.

 

It seems like one would have to figure out the configuration and tricks for each Raag, and using this technique in conjunction with meend seems conducive to speed, and gives the music a vocal quality, it seems very Gayaki Ang. Just some observations, please let me know what you think.

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barend

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Reply with quote  #38 
Ok good stuff. Keep it coming!

I also experiment a lot with these kind of non standard fingerings myself. Keeps you open minded regarding sitar technique and opens up new possibilities.

I understand what you are saying with playing a meend from the fret below. All examples are clear.
Only with the last example I am not sure. What do you mean by two notes below? Say the first beat GmGR. Do you play that meend from the R fret? Then it would be one note/fret below?
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jaysitar22

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Reply with quote  #39 
It will be a three note meend, and you are right, it will start from the note below the first note in the figure. I was thinking of it as 2 notes below the highest note. I was trying to not let the note sound though, so in GmGR, I start directly on Ga, while using meend from Re, and then do that for the rest of the ascending patterns.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #40 
ok that was exactly what I thought. Just wanted to be sure that was what you meant. I already use that technique myself. Useful technique. Especially in raags with big jumps like Hamsadhwani for example. That PN jump. For example play a PNSRGRSNP meend tan but meend NSRGRSN from the D fret.
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