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gopi-chad

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Reply with quote  #1 
hey folks,

newbi here, been 'lurking' for a while and i've tried doing a search but unable to find the correct tuning for a ravi style sitar. I am tuning the main strings: F#,C#,G#,c#,F#,C,C# but for some reason I can not find the tuning for the tarb's. Research has shown me that I should be tuning to the ragas, but for a guy that just wants to make his sitar sing, what notes should I be tuning the sympathics?

Thanks alot for your time :-)
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #2 
By "SING" you mean ring out? Well, they will only ring out when the main string is playing a note that they are tuned to, so tuning to the raga is the correct way to tune. To begin, you can tune to a major scale, as the gringos call it, or bilaval as it would be called. You don't want to break strings so I would recommend starting with the highest and working down. If your sitar has 13 tarbs, this is what I use (I am transposing to C, for convenience, but I tune to C#)
highest tarb- e, d, c, b, a ,g, f, e, d, c, c, b, c- lowest tarb This is quite common. The flatted (komal) notes in other ragas can be adjusted from this starting point. If your sitar has less than 13 tarbs, just eliminate the highest one or two. By the way, your fifth main string, in your tuning , should be g#, not f#. the only F# (ma) should be the main playing string. Hope this helps.
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #3 
Here ya gooooo: http://www.silverbushmusic.com/sitartuning.html has a tuning chart for RS style.

Sitarman is on the frequency (Kenneth?) I have seen and heard a wide variety of tarb tunings its usually whatever method your Ustad likes. I generally, no always, well mostly double up the strings that correspond to the Vadi.

Another complication is for ragas that have a different ascending scale and descent!? If for instance the raag has a pentatonic ascending I tend to go with the pentatonic scale since often the "added" notes on descent are emphasized lightly. And by doubling the tarbs on the vadi and samvadi the character of the raag seems to light up (malkauns for instance). I also find that a straight ascending tuning on the tarbs can detract from the character of the raag if a vivadi note is in the scale this is also an issue when doing meends if for instance you are grabbing a meend and the unemphasised note of the raag rings the sympathetic string in passing or pulling in this case disturbing the character of the raag.

So its wide open but for a novice I would recommend tuning to the Thaat or parent scale of the raga being played until your comfortable with the instrument and its general sympathetic response.

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #4 
Gee, I always knew I was "on the frequency" with something!
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gopi-chad

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Reply with quote  #5 
WOW!,

ahh ya, just give me a few weeks to digest all that... thanx's!! :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
Here ya gooooo: http://www.silverbushmusic.com/sitartuning.html has a tuning chart for RS style.

Sitarman is on the frequency (Kenneth?) I have seen and heard a wide variety of tarb tunings its usually whatever method your Ustad likes. I generally, no always, well mostly double up the strings that correspond to the Vadi.

So for Yaman Kalyan I'll tune from lowest to highest c, komal b, c, d ,ee, tivra f, g, a, shudda b, c. Its better to learn the Indian note names in my opinion so: Sa, komal Ni, Sa, Re, Gha Gha,Ma, Pa, Da, shudda Ni, Sa. The Yaman I was taught uses the shudda B in ascent and komal B in descent so I tune to both.

Another complication is for ragas that have a different ascending scale and descent!? If for instance the raag has a pentatonic ascending I tend to go with the pentatonic scale since often the "added" notes on descent are emphasized lightly. And by doubling the tarbs on the vadi and samvadi the character of the raag seems to light up (malkauns for instance). I also find that a straight ascending tuning on the tarbs can detract from the character of the raag if a vivadi note is in the scale this is also an issue when doing meends if for instance you are grabbing a meend and the unemphasised note of the raag rings the sympathetic string in passing or pulling in this case disturbing the character of the raag.

So its wide open but for a novice I would recommend tuning to the Thaat or parent scale of the raga being played until your comfortable with the instrument and its general sympathetic response.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi, Gopi-Chad.
Welcome to the forum. Your top string tuning system as you've writtrn is correct. Do note that the 5th string as

'F#' works for ragas like Malkauns, Bageshri and others that use the 4th. degree of the scale. Tuning that string up to

'G#' (the 5th) gets you into another whole family of ragas and what I guess you could call the "standard" tuning

system. Sitarmans post shows how Pandit Ravi Shankar generally tunes his taraf strings. Works great. Gets all the right

notes, etc. As one who doesn't like to change broken strings unless necessary, he's how I do it. Going from longest to

shortest and transposing to 'C' - B, A, C, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. There's 11 strings. If you have 12 or 13 available,

you could double up on the middle range (E, F, G), especially for any of the ragas that use natural or flattened

notes. Raga Jog, for example that uses the shudd (natural) and komal (flat) third (E) - tunes like this low to high

with 11 strings - Bb, G, C, C, Eb, E, F, G, G, Bb, C. All the notes are covered. The tonic and dominant are doubled up.

The descending strum pattern has a nice pretty shift of notes at the trailing end and most importantly, the tension is

reduced overall therefore broken strings will be less frequent. Ultimately, tune those little devils to whatever

pleases your ears. There are any number of variations out there. ALso, just listen to any of these all too frequent

strums from recordings and visualise the notes in that descending line. Tune accordingly. Hope that makes sense.

Experiment, too! Great fun!

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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #7 
My 2 cents:

I learned to tune my tarafi this way. By the way, the singular is tarab the plural tarafi. That's why we have the confusion of tarabs or tarafs, etc.

Ok, so here it goes, from high to low for Bilawal. 13 strings

R' S' N S' D P P M G R S N. S

For Yaman

R' S' N S' D P Mt M G R S N. S

This gives a very nice cascading effect and sound really cool.

Bharat
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Amerikon

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Reply with quote  #8 
A really slick way my teacher showed me to tune my tarafs is by using the fret nearest the peg. If that fret corresponds to a note in your raga then tune a taraf to that note. If it doesn't, then tune it to the next closest note that is in the raga.

Example:
My sitar has 11 tarafs which are closest to the following frets:
n, N, S, R, G, m, M, P, D, N, S

For bilaval I would tune to:
N, S, S, R, G, m, P, P, D, N, S

It's really easy and you don't have to remember anything!

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Joanna Mack

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Reply with quote  #9 
I'm not sure if this will be helpful to you at this point, gopi-chad, but I found it really interesting to hear how other people tune so.....Like AbdulLatif said, I do what my Guru does.
My tarif start with Sa and end with Sa.
This system has worked well for me, I rarely break a string and I don't find that I miss the upper Re and Ga.

My basic format goes like this for Bilaval-
From highest (shortest) to lowest (longest)
S S N D P P M G G R S N S.
I usually keep the 5th through 9th string between P and G. I usually tune weighing the importance of the note in the Rag against the position of the peg. I usually end up doubling up on the Vadi and the Samvadi, but this is not a rule that I follow AT ALL. I don't usually tune the embellishment notes because that can end up sounding really messy. I keep saying "usually" because nothing is set in stone, but having a basic system is probably really a good idea both for your ear and your instrument.

Yeman Kalyan would be as follows
S S N D P P M(tivra) G G R S N S.


Ragashree would be like
S S n D D M M G G R S n S

BTW. A piece of advice that has proven to be extremely useful is to ALWAYS tune a tarif by detuning it down and then tuning it up. NEVER the other way around or haphazardly. Again, this is good both for the ear and for setting the instrument.

A tariffic tangent.....
After tuning the main strings, I tune the lowest Sa first, and then the two highest Sa strings. Then, depending on the Rag, there is a system of which tarif to tune next. In genreal, if the fifth (Pa) is prominent then, after Sa then Pa, and then Re, Dha, Ga, Ni, Ma- basically tuning by fifths.
and if Ma is prominent, then Sa, Ma, Ni, Ga, Dha, Re, Pa.
Of course, all the strings are tuned to Sa but the Vadi plays an important role in the order of which to tune. If Dha is more prominent than Pa, for example,or if R is komal, Ga will be slightly different. This diffence is a tangible, measurable, realistic one and leads into the discussion shruti and the mathematics of well tempered vs untempered tuning etc. If anyone has anything to say about this, I am all ears! (maybe a new thread?)
Joanna
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daz199

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Reply with quote  #10 
"From highest (longest) to lowest (shortest)
S S N D P P M G G R S N S. "

so you tune your lower strings to the higher notes? i though u were supposed to tune it like this:
from longest to shortest strings...

s r g m d p n s' etc...

since you'd have to get the long strings prettty tight compared to the shorter ones to get the same frequency...
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #11 
Retraction!!! My prior post stating that Yaman Kalyan used a Komal Ni was flat out wrong as was pointed out very kindly by Chandran. I was having a senior moment and probably thinking of Khamaj...whatever, sorry for the lapse.

Thanks to Chandran who has more knowledge in their mizrab than my entire mind contains.

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povster

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "daz199"
"From highest (longest) to lowest (shortest)
S S N D P P M G G R S N S. "

so you tune your lower strings to the higher notes? i though u were supposed to tune it like this:
from longest to shortest strings...

s r g m d p n s' etc...

since you'd have to get the long strings prettty tight compared to the shorter ones to get the same frequency...
I am quite sure that Joanna just mixed up the words "longest" and "shortest". She is saying that the order SSNDPPMGGRSNS is in the order of the highest pitch (naturally the shortest string down to the lowest (longest) string). I have madc similar mistakes, saying Ra Da when I mean Da Ra, or chic da instaed of da chic. These typographical errors are amoung the signs of the superior mind.

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Joanna Mack

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks daz199, hopefully that makes more sense!
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Joanna Mack

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Reply with quote  #14 
ok,ok, I know, Povster, I owe you five bucks.

Correction made.

AbdulLatif, I am so relieved that you were referring to Khamaj. I was literally feeling faint imagining a Yeman Kalyan with komal Ni. and thats the longest of it.
Joanna
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #15 
OK Guys and Gals, don't close the subject yet! I note, when listening to gayaki style players, a very prominent Ni which they regularly finger with their left hand. This leads me to believe that their longest tarb is tuned to it, rather than Sa. Am I correct?
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