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AbdulLatif

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Hi folks, I've run across a couple articles stating that both Shamsuddin Faridi and Asad Ali Khan are accompanied onstage by disciples substituting the sitar for the tamboura. Anyone have any experience with this??? What is the sitar tuned to? The differance in pitch between a sitar and veena would seem to make this impraticable, tuning the sitar down a fifth would make the strings flap in the breeze and tuning up would be unwise. Whats the dealio???
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sitarman

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I wonder if "substituting" means just plucking the open strings strings, like on tampura, not fretting them like sitar. In that case you might be able to tune down to say B or Bb, which some vocalists are comfortable with. Yeah, they would be a bit floppy, but if you aeren't fretting them you could make it work.Tuned any any lower might be impractical. Seperate question- I sometimes wonder why tampuras haven't evolved with tarabs, like other instruments.
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Drew

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
I sometimes wonder why tampuras haven't evolved with tarabs, like other instruments.
good question? I wonder if its because the strings/notes are too low to make the tarbs ring out? (I have no idea what gauge the strings are but I think they are thicker than any strings on a Sitar?)
I know the make up of the intrument is different than the Sitar and you couldnt fit them down the neck. But, John Mclaughlin from Shakti put tarbs on his guitar (7 to be exact) and they went across the body, under the strings rather than all the way down the neck. However, Im not so sure that his would sing when the target notes were hit and that he just struck them as a background filler.
(on his new DVD he mentioned how he lent his shakti guitar out and it got totaled and he has regreted it since. Thats too bad as it was one sweet guitar with those scalloped frets and 7 tarbs)



do any tampuras have frets?

I dont think they do (I may be wrong) but if they did, it would become much like a Bass if you wanted to fret any notes as opposed to just open strings.

They could just put normal guitar/bass frets on them rather than the raised frets of the Sitar.

does anyone know anything about this or if its been done?

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
I wonder if "substituting" means just plucking the open strings strings, like on tampura, not fretting them like sitar. In that case you might be able to tune down to say B or Bb, which some vocalists are comfortable with. Yeah, they would be a bit floppy, but if you aeren't fretting them you could make it work.Tuned any any lower might be impractical. Seperate question- I sometimes wonder why tampuras haven't evolved with tarabs, like other instruments.
Yo sitarman,
The article seemed to imply that the sitar was played like a tamboura. I guess I'll know soon. They do build tambouras with sympathetic strings its called, incorrectly a "kinnara" veen. I picked one up on ebay last year. Mine has 13 tarabs, 5 main strings and is roughly the size of a female tamboura. One of the Satarmakar clan in Miraj advertises one on their website with 7 tarbs as a special order item. I'm still refining the jawari, it has 3 bridges 2 under the playing strings and 1 for the jawari so its like trying to tune jello. It is the richest sounding tamboura I've ever heard and I expect it will sound quite good with my veena. I've read that the baffling variety of South Indian veens listed in old manuscripts was due to the practice of building veens to demonstrate the cycle of shrutis within the 7 svaras, some veens being named after either a specific thaat or Svara. I suspect the "Kinnara" falls into that catagory, when the tarabs are tuned to different Thaats the effect of the 1st and 5th main strings in emphasising the vadi and samvadi of the raga is very pronounced.

As too my original question???

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #5 
Abdul-L,
Well, that answers that! I mentioned in another post, about the Festival of India concert, that one of the tampuras was a combo tanpura-swaramandal, which was quite nice and practical it seems, for some stuff. Abd Drew- I think going further with modifications, like frets, would be non-productive, as tanpura, by it's very nature, is not needed for melody or rhythm. I also remember McLaughlin's custom made acoustic with the sympathetics. I don't think the position or angle would stop them from resonating on the guitar. After all, they are triggered by vibration by the main strings through the body. There was a vintage guitar by Coral (reissued recently by Jerry Jones)- a solid body electric, called the Coral Electric Sitar, which also had sympathetic strings. However, being a solid body with no real acoustic resonance, those strings were practically useless, except for strumming to get that effect. Just some trivia for ya!
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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
Seperate question- I sometimes wonder why tampuras haven't evolved with tarabs, like other instruments.
What purpose would they serve on a tambura? For the most part
the tambura sounds no other notes besides the tonic and fifth, so
when would the other sympathetic strings be heard?

Maybe you're thinking, though, of having just sympathetic strings
for those notes sounded by the tambura? Would that be to include
a layer of "unplucked" sound beneath the plucked, or something to
that effect?

Any string on the tambura not being plucked at the moment will still
vibrate sympathetically in response to another string sounding the
same pitch or its octave, or even a fourth below, so maybe nothing
is really to be gained from the addition of extra strings purely for
sympathetic vibration?

David
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #7 
I was a huge Shakti fan. As I remember the guitar McLaughlin played lacked a jawari bridge for the tarbs and if I recall the tarbs ran at an acute angle to the main strings. My experiments with modified tarb instruments, a dulcimer and two banjos, seems to indicate that the sympathetics resonate much better when they run parallel to the main strings. Without a jawari bridge they do add a kind of cool reverb echo effect but not the distinct sound of Indian instruments. I've also observed that there is a point where the string length becomes to short to properly resonate.
Too bad to hear McLaughlins guitar was ruined, it had a lightly braced paper thin top and massive back bracing so it was quite delicate. I think it was built by a luthier from the Gibson Custom shop and I imagine if he wanted he could have one built again. It was his second attempt at a hybrid the first lacked the resonance and reponse he wanted and the traditional frets prohibited shruti alterations. I think its going to take a master guitar builder with a firm background in Indian music to finally produce a true fretted tarab/guitar. Personally I'm not sure that the traditional guitar shape with bouts and a large soundhole is really optimum for a hybrid, all the hybrids I've seen also have a standard tempered scale itself incompatible with the harmonic requirements of well tuned sympathetics. The sitar "sound" seems to me to be a complex mix of bridge and resonator shape affecting the overtones and harmonic emphasis, that along with the adjustable frets is a tasty blend.

ps Sitarman did you get the pics of the TurboTam?

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "David
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
Seperate question- I sometimes wonder why tampuras haven't evolved with tarabs, like other instruments.What purpose would they serve on a tambura? For the most part the tambura sounds no other notes besides the tonic and fifth, so
when would the other sympathetic strings be heard? David
The sympathetics on my instrument ring very well and besides the first and 5th or 4th the other strings ring and act on each other. There is a noticable difference when the tarbs are tuned to different thaats with the vadi and samvadi being emphasized, the emphasis can be altered by changing the distance between the first and 5th as well. The tarbs are also affected by the solo instrument and will ring in resonance to the melody. The harmonic blend from a given string is much richer than just the octave and the 4th or 5th containing an overtone series also along with "false harmonics" all of these can be heard in a well tuned tamboura and the tarbs on my instrument emphasize those tones. This article explains the topic much better than I am capable:

Quote "With a proper tanpura with sensitive jivari various secondary tones can be evoked to emanate from its sustained resonance, even within the basic PssS tuning. In short, there is not only one "right" way of tuning in PssS as it is possible to adjust the finer resonances in function of a particular raga. A tanpura with this kind of subtle tuning can inspire both the musicians and the audience with its animated presence. Further on I will try to describe some of the basic principles that lie behind the intricacies of tuning.

Tuning a tanpura is such a complicated process as every single string resonates with many harmonics which with some practice can be distinguished individually as secondary tones. Thus we are not dealing with simple fundamentals but with extended chords. The slightly curved bridge of the tanpura functions like a sonic prism: just as a prism will refract white light in the various colours of the rainbow, a bridge of proper shape with the thread in the proper position will refract the constituent harmonics of the fundamental tones. In daily use, the word "jivari" has different meanings: the word translates as "soul" or "live-giving" but also refers to the threads and the carefully filed sloping curve of the bridge which "animate" the tone of the tanpura. The cotton threads that are passed between the bridge and the strings allow us to adjust the "prismatic function" of the jivari process. When we move the thread, the slightest change of position creates a shift in the harmonic content of the resonance.

Also, with a sensitive jivari the tanpura becomes very responsive: at the touch of one string all others will vibrate as well in sympathetic resonance. This phenomenon will manifest only under optimum circumstances when the sonic energy from one string has a number of common harmonics with the others, so that the whole can resonate as one vibratory system. The sustained resonance of the tanpura, when in full accord and played properly, can become fully continuous "like an organ". An image that has often come to my mind in comparison to the dynamic sound of a tanpura is that of the concentric ripples on the surface of the water caused by the impact of a small stone being dropped into a quiet lake from a bridge. The concentric ripples keep spreading out from a precise point untill the energy runs out. If another stone of the same weight would be dropped in the same place at the proper moment, the movement would begin anew, giving the travelling waves a push in the back, creating a seemingly continuous motion." End Quote.

From Martin Spaink @ http://www.dhrupad.info/article1.htm

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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #9 
I've read that the baffling variety of South Indian veens listed in old manuscripts was due to the practice of building veens to demonstrate the cycle of shrutis within the 7 svaras, some veens being named after either a specific thaat or Svara. I suspect the "Kinnara" falls into that catagory, when the tarabs are tuned to different Thaats the effect of the 1st and 5th main strings in emphasising the vadi and samvadi of the raga is very pronounced. quote]

Originally all of the stringed instruments referred to as "vina" were
harps. The tube zithers and lutes that we know today by that name
came along later. Those vinas mentioned in the shastras as being
tuned to different scales or modes for the purpose of demonstrating
the cycle of shrutis were also harps.

You say that "kinnara vina" is a misnomer for your instrument, and
just above you seem to imply too that it's a Southern instrument?
If so, then I wonder if it isn't in fact a gottuvadyam, or something
similar, and thus for playing melody and not just drone?

David
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dennis

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Reply with quote  #10 
http://www.perfectthird.com/
Any One hear of this Guitar?
Here is a pretty wild sounding acoustic guitar sample. (Gooden Guitar)
No pictures but definately has plenty of sympathetec strings. If the link doesn't work, go to SilverBush Music and follow the link.
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Drew

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "dennis"
http://www.perfectthird.com/
Any One hear of this Guitar?
Here is a pretty wild sounding acoustic guitar sample. (Gooden Guitar)
No pictures but definately has plenty of sympathetec strings. If the link doesn't work, go to SilverBush Music and follow the link.
thanks for sharing this. Its sounds like a very nice guitar !

however, I couldnt seem to find any pictures of it?

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Drew

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
I was a huge Shakti fan.

have you been able to get your eyes on the new Shakti DVD?

all I can say is after watching it (3 times in a row its so good) my appreciation for Shakti grew 10fold !!!


http://www.abstractlogix.com/xcart/product.php?productid=21174&cat=0&page=1


Its funny too because in the interviews section... Zakir says how Shakti is and was his ultimate goal in music and that Shakti is everything he ever wanted.

Also, (another tidbit that I didnt know until I watched the DVD) is that John Mclaughlin had studied the Veena (and still does Im sure) and learned all of the Indian (north/south) methods through various teachers.

and just this weekend I listened to John's cd "The Promise" and the song that Shakti does "The Wish" is on there and Im not sure but, I think the version on the Promise has John playing the Veena on it. I must admitt that I think I like the version on the promise better that the Shakti version.

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Drew, Yea I've read that McLaughlin has played and studied veena for years, he considers it to be sacred and a spititual practice so with that and his estimate that he is a novice on the veen he rarely if ever performs on it in public.

David, I'm doing an article on the historical development of the veen from its South Indian roots to the emergence of the druphad school in norhern India. I'll forward you a copy when its done. The instrument I have is probably a very late innovation and the name Kinnara Veen is simply ballyhoo and hype. The actual Kinnara veen is a different beast altogether and some examples exist in museum collections. Your history corresponds to my sources. If I implied that the instrument I owned was from the historical period it was my typically poor writing that conveyed that similarity.

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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
David, I'm doing an article on the historical development of the veen from its South Indian roots to the emergence of the druphad school in norhern India. I'll forward you a copy when its done.
Thanks! I'll be looking forward to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
The instrument I have is probably a very late innovation and the name Kinnara Veen is simply ballyhoo and hype. The actual Kinnara veen is a different beast altogether and some examples exist in museum collections.
Do you know what its proper name is, or can you post a picture
of it or direct us to a picture of one somewhere on the internet?

You've really piqued my curiosity! :^)
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
Your history corresponds to my sources. If I implied that the instrument I owned was from the historical period it was my typically poor writing that conveyed that similarity.
Oh no, you didn't give any such impression. I merely meant that
the vinas used in the ancient acoustic studies which I thought you
were referring to, if indeed we both have the same thing in mind,
are supposed to have been of the harp variety.

David
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