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CheesecakeTomek

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Reply with quote  #1 
hey all,

So for the last year or so, as I have been gradually adding speed to my sapat/murchhana, I have noticed tension building from my left (fret) hand to shoulder area as a practice these exercises. As a result, I lose the feeling of fluid motion over along the neck and often have to put a quick break in between long repetitions to realign myself. I'm sure this is just a mental obstacle, linked with the long movement in one direction of the neck, as this has not been a problem in any other aspect of playing. However, despite direct effort to make my left arm relax during these exercises, I simply can't keep it up for very long. I am wondering if anyone else has had to deal with this obstacle, and if so, how did you manage to let go?

Cheers,
Tomek
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Tomek,

It does take quite a bit of physical stamina to up and down the neck like that, so you might just be going through a normal process of developing strength in the arm. It should be much easier and more fluid after a couple of months of training like this. It does take a while though, and a lot of practise.

The one technical thing you might want to just check is wether you're sliding your finger smoothly across the frets without lifting it from the string. A lot of players when they first start slightly lift their finger from the string and then press it down again at the next fret, and this can really hobble your playing when you start to increase the speed, especially when playing groups of 4 or more consecutive notes in ascending/descending phrases.

Good luck!!

- Rex
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Jay M

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
The one technical thing you might want to just check is wether you're sliding your finger smoothly across the frets without lifting it from the string. A lot of players when they first start slightly lift their finger from the string and then press it down again at the next fret, and this can really hobble your playing when you start to increase the speed, especially when playing groups of 4 or more consecutive notes in ascending/descending phrases.
Just to clarify, you mean lifting it completely off the string and back on again right? Because you are supposed to release the pressure of the finger across the fret and then press the finger down from note to note and not just slide across.
Maybe I am misunderstanding.

I know that for me, increasing speed and getting out of your comfort zone will cause you to tighten up, it is both mental and physical I think.

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povster

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Reply with quote  #4 
CT (may I call you CT?) - Maybe you could try interspersing the long scale exercises with smaller things like paltas? Or do your murchana but intersperse with maybe a jhalla (S xxx rxxx gxxx where xxx-three hits on the chicari) - just to kind of slow down the overall movement length. Then after one cycle of these go back to a few of the murchana? Basically get a little variety for the nonce?
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CheesecakeTomek

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
The one technical thing you might want to just check is wether you're sliding your finger smoothly across the frets without lifting it from the string. A lot of players when they first start slightly lift their finger from the string and then press it down again at the next fret, and this can really hobble your playing when you start to increase the speed, especially when playing groups of 4 or more consecutive notes in ascending/descending phrases.
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Jay
Just to clarify, you mean lifting it completely off the string and back on again right? Because you are supposed to release the pressure of the finger across the fret and then press the finger down from note to note and not just slide across.
Maybe I am misunderstanding.
I have not thought about this consciously. I do release my thumb a tiny bit to make smoother movement over the fret string, which in consequence probably does release a bit of pressure from the index finger, but otherwise index movement is pretty smooth. Rex and Jay, what you have said (about continued practice, comfort zone- respectively) confirm my common-sense thoughts that, as every other part of this music, I just have to keep my practice up. It was more of a psychological interest that spawned this thread, to see if anyone had devised any sort of exercise- physical or mental, to get past this, or if it is just well disciplined riyaaz all the way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by "povster"
CT (may I call you CT?) - Maybe you could try interspersing the long scale exercises with smaller things like paltas? Or do your murchana but intersperse with maybe a jhalla (S xxx rxxx gxxx where xxx-three hits on the chicari) - just to kind of slow down the overall movement length. Then after one cycle of these go back to a few of the murchana? Basically get a little variety for the nonce?
The jhalla you refer to is much like the "pause" i referenced in my original post. I just throw in a Sxxx, Sxxx and then im good to go. I just want to get rid of the need to do that!!! As I type about this more, I realize that this must be something that will just come with practice, so I will do just that. This was just a thought that had been building up for a while and I needed to vocalize it and see what others had to say about this. During these summer months I only see my guru once a month, and that's when the doubts start building up! It's all good though, thanks for the replies, and if anyone has anything else to add, I would be interested to read it.

Finally, Povster, I find no offense in CT (actually, it's the abbreviation for the state in which I was born!- so, works for me!).

Cheers,
Tomek
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Jay
Just to clarify, you mean lifting it completely off the string and back on again right? Because you are supposed to release the pressure of the finger across the fret and then press the finger down from note to note and not just slide across.
Maybe I am misunderstanding.
Hi Jay,

Actually, you undertood me correctly... Looks like we just use different techniques here If it works for you, great!

"I have not thought about this consciously. I do release my thumb a tiny bit to make smoother movement over the fret string, which in consequence probably does release a bit of pressure from the index finger, but otherwise index movement is pretty smooth."

Hi Tomek,

Another observation... I was taught to play without touching the thumb against the back for the neck at all. The only time it touches is to counterbrace meend, but not to support or guide the hand. If the sitar is well balanced between the right knee and left foot it won't require any support from the arms or hands to keep it in the correct playing postion. This frees up the hands and arms so that all their energy is directed entirely into playing, not supporting. I mentioned this before in another thread, and it was VERY controversial ( ). I thought this was the way everyone played, but found out otherwise very quickly ( :roll: ) so please don't take this as standard technique! There are other schools of thought which are just as valid. Listen to your teacher first before trusting anything you read on the internet!

But, In addition to keeping the finger down and all times and not lifting it between frets, this was what helped me to get over the hurdle to start playing fast diri diri taans with not much effort. Before that I was always playing "Da-pause-Ra-pause," or, "diri-pause-diri-pause." I couldn't get much beyond that without feeling like my hands were breaking off at even at very moderate speeds... it was like my finger would catch and drag on the frets, which I guess was what was happening.

The other thing is that left and right hands need to be working independently, and coordination and timing need to be dead on too. This is so that right hand diri-diri's are properly coordinated so that they strike at exactly the same time as the finger from the left hand slides to the next fret. Eventually it becomes a very fluid, almost effortless motion. The only way of cracking that is lots and lots and lots of disciplined work with a metronone and taking it reeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyy sllloooooowwww at first.

- Rex
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CheesecakeTomek

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Posts: 513
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Rex,

Right, I was taught that the thumb should be touching the center of the neck, mirroring the index finger on the other side. However, it is certainly playing no role in holding up the sitar. As you said, it's all left foot and right knee.

All the other po
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
it was like my finger would catch and drag on the frets, which I guess was what was happening.
I had that going on a while ago, to be quite honest I don't know what I did to fix it, but it's gone :mrgreen:
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
The other thing is that left and right hands need to be working independently, and coordination and timing need to be dead on too. This is so that right hand diri-diri's are properly coordinated so that they strike at exactly the same time as the finger from the left hand slides to the next fret. Eventually it becomes a very fluid, almost effortless motion. The only way of cracking that is lots and lots and lots of disciplined work with a metronone and taking it reeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyy sllloooooowwww at first.
Yes, this is something I keep myself very aware of, and probably a large contributer to this obstacle. The arm tensing up as I concentrate on the timing. However, I think it is the thaat I am currently working with (Poorvi) which has really been the culprit in bringing me to post about this. The minor third followed by minor seconds makes this the most awkward thaat I have worked with to date. However I really felt the benefit of being with it for the last two months or so when I broke out bilawal for the first time since may this morning and flew through it more clearly, smoothly, and quickly than ever before. With that in mind I'm going back to Purvi and rolling back the tempo just a bit and then woodshed woodshed woodshed.
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