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Ian S. Cophin

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Hi

Does anyone know why the sitar is not fully-fretted, i.e. why it does not have frets for all 12 semitones?

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Ian
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barend

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Good question. I am not sure how it originated. But most ragas have a maximum of 7 different tones and don't modulate like western music. And since a complete raga is fairly lengthy you stay in those same tones for a long time. Therefore it makes it more easy and uncluttered to have less frets. One other reason might be that it makes meends physically more easy because you have more room for your fingers.

Curious what others have to say about this...

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Nick Proctor

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Totally agree !!!!
Isn't it difficult enough as it is ?!?!? HA HA

Nick aka trippymonkey
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Ian S. Cophin

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While I agree that accurate bendings are tricky and require a lot of practice, I don't think that additional frets would make them any more or less difficult. 


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Tomek Regulski

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Practical point - having a few gaps in there gives your eyes a great roadmap for knowing where you are on the neck, much like the dots on a guitar's fretboard. Since, as barend pointed out, you really don't need higher/lower versions of each note for most ragas, removing a few frets is an elegant way to achieve this. 
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Nick Proctor

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OR you could move onto Saraswati or Rudra Veena !!!!
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barend

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian S. Cophin
While I agree that accurate bendings are tricky and require a lot of practice, I don't think that additional frets would make them any more or less difficult. 




You are correct. It is still perfectly possible to meend with chromatic frets. But sometimes it helps if you can pull the string with two fingers on one fret like shudh Re for example.

But the prime reason for the gaps is the overview and the less cluttered fretboard I guess. The less frets the more easy it is if you stay in one raga.

Also the more frets you have the more these might get in the way with the taraf pegs.

Don't know the historic facts but these are the things I can think of.
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Blind Lemon Mike

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i would also assume it is mainly for better visual orientation. 

I wanted to note that Manilal Nag , his daugther Mita Nag, and some other players of this gharana  are playing with an permanent komal re fret.

However he is not using a fret for each of the dhas...

A local i know, who, besides playing traditional hindustani classical music, also plays in a sort of fusion-band has fully chromatic frets for that purpose, as you can easily modulate into all kinds of harmonic situations with it. 

For traditional interpretations there just is no need i guess.

regards 
Blind Lemon Mike


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chrisitar

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For me the gap between sa and re is the perfect place to put your thumb when picking the instrument up! 
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