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Andius

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Reply with quote  #16 
Guys,

I'm really learning on this thread! Agree with Element that it should be clearly defined somewhere; that was the whole point of my original post.

Bhatiyali: I was suspecting that something was lost in the translation of "open", "closed". Don't say sorry, no need! Could you try to give us more info on the Bengali sense of these terms regarding sound produced? (voice,sitar etc). Your input on this is of great value. This would help us to give a common understanding of sitar intonation. Thanx.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #17 
I believe in the Indian meaning of "open" and "closed" also refers to the sound produced. The best way to describe this for westerners is hold your nose (closing your nostrils) and speak, the sound would be said to be "closed" Release the nose (open the nostrils) and say the same thing, the sound would be said to be "open."

Again, my 2 cents.

Bharat
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #18 
It's not such a big esoteric question and it doesn't require big esoteric answers. Open jawari simply means more overtones produced, closed means less overtones produced. It's well known that Vilayat Khan - a purveyor of the closed jawari sound considered his sound to be more manifestly "dignified". He famously took digs at Ravi Shankar's open jawari calling him "That sitar player with the Beatle-y sound." Of course RS had the last laugh as he enjoyed much greater commercial success and all the attendant rewards.
Cheers,
Keshav
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Andius

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Reply with quote  #19 
Yup, its becoming clearer to me why "open" and "closed" jawari are termed as such. Seems not so much bridge curvature itself as the type of sound produced (though curvature would give that). Made clear by sitarfanatic re: open/closed nostrils, which ties in neatly with Keshav Des's mention of overtones produced or not.
Well, this forum served its educational purpose for me. Appreciate all the input guys.

Keshav's mention of more/less overtones, and the constrast between VK's "dignified" sound and RS's "open" sound has left me asking another question: As I really love the complex mix of overtones from my sitar, why should I want a "closed" sound if that reduces these amazing overtones? I realize that the closed sound may be more "dignified", and VK is maybe my favorite player, but I wouldn't want my sitar to sound more towards a western lute!

Can any of you guys convince me of the benefits of a more open sound? And what are each of your preferences?

Wasn't sure if I should start another thread with this; but maybe one of you can start one?
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Andius

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Reply with quote  #20 
From my last post:

should read: "can any of you guys convince me of the benefits of a more CLOSED sound"
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Lurker

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Reply with quote  #21 
What are the Hindu terms for Open Jawari or Closed Jawari? Maybe it would be better to learn the Hindu terms (as long as you don't know Hindu) and not get confused by "Open" or "Closed."
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Lurker

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Andius"
From my last post:

should read: "can any of you guys convince me of the benefits of a more CLOSED sound"
I'm not sure there is a benefit other than if its the type of sound you prefer, than having the Closed Jawari is beneficial to achieving it. I personally prefer the Open "buzzy" "Beatles-esque" type sound, so the benefit for me is to have an Open Jawari.

I think over all, more people prefer the Closed Jawari.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #23 
OK! I'm in for 2 cents. I think the open - closed topic has been pretty well bled dry. No need to add anything there. Redundancy, you know. Regarding the benefits, though, my take is the closed VK sound is set up for that type of approach to playing. A "dry, closed, unbuzzy sound" affords the player the clarity of sound useful for blazing runs up and down the neck and all those delicious subtle, lyrical meends. No messy in-the-way overtones and cascading taraf strings confusing the issue made by the first string. A "buzzed up, open, overtone enriched sound" is better suited for the kharak (RS) type sitars. Getting down on the bass strings with such a bridge gets into the whole Sur-Bahar sound and flavour. Well suited and I'm sure the original intention of such a bridge. On rare occasion, such a sitar has come in for adjustment with the request to cool down the taraf bridge. Too hot a response curve steals the thunder of the first string. Ultimately. it's up to the one with the mizrab who decides how open, closed, just a crack, bolt that sucker shut or hang it out in the breeze to get the sound desired. Tradition plays its part if your a victim of gharana ranking or just into emulating your favorite/s. Raise and call !!
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Andius

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Reply with quote  #24 
Tony K,
I fold! All my questions regarding terms "open" and "closed", and the choice of each have been well answered by you all. Can't hope to raise on this hand, you've got all the aces.

Thats what this forum should be about; swapping ideas, teaching/learning. Brilliant.
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Chandran

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Reply with quote  #25 
Sitarfixer- I still have a lot of questions on this topic, so if you don't mind, I'd like to bleed it a little more. (I'm goin for bone here!)
In an open jawari, is the "buzz" sound caused by the sympathetic response being immediate?
Does the jawari on the main bridge effect the timing of the sympathetic response on its own, (depending on whether it is open or closed) or is it a combination of main bridge and symp bridge jawari and bridge placement issues? My symp response is much too bright and distracting to me and I wasn't sure why and what I can do about it. If it is a matter of moving the symp bridge, any suggestions about that?
I was also wondering (read, passionately want to know), sometimes I get a lot of "neck" and fret noise. I can hear my fingers passing the frets, almost like those old bottleneck guitar players! Somehow this is related to jawari because it really isn't so noticeable all the time. I am guessing that when I have a closed jawari, the VOLUME of the sound produced by the main string is less, so the playing noises are more apparent....?
An open jawari seems to have a more hollow sound. Does the jawari effect WHERE in the sitar the sound is coming from- the gourd compared to the neck?
When you have a closed jawari, and the "break" it, it tends to open up, is this in anyway similar to how it would sound if you started with an open jawari in the first place? Or is the entire curvature of the bridge different?
What does the jawari have to do with the ability of the main sting to SUSTAIN for those long, unstruck meands?
If someone comes to you for jawari, does I want a "warm, round tone" mean anything to you?
Is RS's sitar really an open jawari all the way through? All the way from Karoj to his highest note? (His sitar sounds completely different to me in different recordings anyway!)

OK, maybe we should come up for air now!

Sitarfixer, I don't know if any of those questions even make sense. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #26 
I think we should all enjoy playing and listening more and Analyzing less. There comes a point where you can analize something to death, that you spend so much time trying to figure the why of things that you don't enjoy the object of the analysis. It reminds me of the old language learning story of the study of the elephants.

An international committee was set up to study elephants, the Germans were to study the physcology of the elephants, the Japanese : smaller and more efficient elephants, the French the love life of the elephants, the Americans : Bigger and better elephants, but somehow in the process the Elephant as a whole was lost.

Or the Indian story of the blind men and the Elephant:
Blind men where asked to explain what an elephant was. One said after touchting the trunk that an elephant was like a snake, another having touched the leg said the elephant was like a pillar, another having touched the ear said the elephant was like large hand held fan. Analyzing the elephant in this way each could only tell of the part they were touching and could not describe the whole elephant.

Enjoy it more, analize it less.

Bharat
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povster

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarfanatic"
I think we should all enjoy playing and listening more and Analyzing less. There comes a point where you can analize something to death, that you spend so much time trying to figure the why of things that you don't enjoy the object of the analysis.
I agree that overanalysis can cause problems. I confess the topic of open/closed jawari has always been interesting to me. And the mechanics I have been reading are interesting.

But, at least for me, Chandran's last post asks some very useful (to me anyway) questions that would help a musicisn or student assess their own instrument. His questions about the relationship to main jawari and the timing of the sympathetic string response, the impact of the sympathetic bridge positioning etc. reflect less analysis and more practical considerations. I think one of the most obvious and most important of these questions is the one that may be passed by as it is non-technical in nature: "If someone comes to you for jawari, does I want a "warm, round tone" mean anything to you?" MAN do I want a jawari expert's answer on that. I reaaly want to know how the person that holds the heart of your instrument under their file perceives such things!

Because once the group committee has comepleted their assessment of the elephant someone better come along and care for it or it ain't gonna be around very long!

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element-82

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Reply with quote  #28 
Agreed, Chandran's questions seem more interesting than than the semantics of open and closed. Maybe they should be in another post?

Pb

Quote:
Originally Posted by "povster"
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarfanatic"
I think we should all enjoy playing and listening more and Analyzing less. There comes a point where you can analize something to death, that you spend so much time trying to figure the why of things that you don't enjoy the object of the analysis.
I agree that overanalysis can cause problems. I confess the topic of open/closed jawari has always been interesting to me. And the mechanics I have been reading are interesting.

But, at least for me, Chandran's last post asks some very useful (to me anyway) questions that would help a musicisn or student assess their own instrument. His questions about the relationship to main jawari and the timing of the sympathetic string response, the impact of the sympathetic bridge positioning etc. reflect less analysis and more practical considerations. I think one of the most obvious and most important of these questions is the one that may be passed by as it is non-technical in nature: "If someone comes to you for jawari, does I want a "warm, round tone" mean anything to you?" MAN do I want a jawari expert's answer on that. I reaaly want to know how the person that holds the heart of your instrument under their file perceives such things!

Because once the group committee has comepleted their assessment of the elephant someone better come along and care for it or it ain't gonna be around very long!

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #29 
My college degrees are all in unrelated and now useless subjects. Answering the tech. specs

with scope and numerical analysis is not gonna happen here. I can offer my observations based

on far too many years of doing this stuff trial and error followed by crashing all the

workshops in India over twenty years and more knowledge based trial and error. Years on there

is a system of sorts that seems to work, at least for me. Here goes !
"Warm, round tone"! I would interpret "warm" as not bright, not sharp (as in knife edge),

with a medium buzz leaning to a Southie tanpura "purrr". "Round" conjures up an "open"

(there's that word again) unpunchy attack. If both bridges are reeely hot there will be

immediate response from the taraf bridge. These two bridges work as a team, no dount about

it. A good jawari job will take all this into account. First of all, getting the low spots

removed from the entire string length along the bridge surface on both bridges is a must. No

air underneath the strings is good! Slot depth and angle must allow proper seating of each

string at the back side of the brisdge surface. Next up, get the sweet spot angle set on both

bridges. Test . Test. Test. I'll get the instrument set to where I'm happy with it. When the

expextant owner comes to pick up, I anticipate an hour or more dialing in the sound to

his/her ears specs. Since we all hear the same sound differently, my take on it will be quite

different from the next persons. Ideally, the parent can come and receive the instrument and

be on hand to direct the final sound. In situations where this is not possible, I've had best

luck by referring the desired sound to what particular artists sound is being strived for.

"RS Sound. VK sound, etc". - and hope the parent is pleased.
Moving the bridges will maybe affect the sound microscopically but more from feeding the

soundboard rather than altered jawari. Then there's the altered intonation issue. I would

think better to not screw around with that unless it is already a problem. You might alsop

try a slightly thicker gauge for the taraf strings. Ustad Shujaat Khan uses .010 taraf wire

and is tuned to 'D'! Scares the hell outta me having a sitar so stressed with such thick

wire. I think this combination of thick wires, top and bottom in combination of a 'D' tuning

contributes to the sound he's after. Sustain from jawari is like a good ol' Vox fuzz tone.

THe regeneration of sound through the vibrating string slapping against the sweet spot on the

bridge keeps the sound going just that lovely bit longer although still in a decay as the

string settles back to 'zero'. Slightly flatter shape gets a little more 'slap' effect and

more sustain. This works only to a degree and the sound quality has a very narrow window.

Jawari effect on sound generation placement - I really coudn't tell you. Finger noise through

jawari - seems to me that a hotter bridge would be like turning up the 'gain knob' on every

aspect of the instrument. Probably good that your baby is receptive to such adjustments. If

cooling off the bridge solves the finger noise problem - great, as long as the overall sound

is a smiler. Otherwise, adjust your finger technique. I had to reset my fingers on my bass

fingerboard and approach each note with a heightened awareness of consistant press,

consistant hold down, consistant travel manner from one fret to the next. Think neat, clean

with style and precision. Seemed to take some of the fun out but once the sound rewards came

back it was all fun after that. I would approach sitar the same way being extremely mindfull

of every aspect of playing. Kinda like jawari on your ears and fingers !!!
Sitarfanatic scores a six pointing out the overanalysis issue. It's great to understand all

the technical aspects of the instrument. That's my focus and passion - "excellent"! For you

players out there, learn all you can, certainly, but focus on the actual playing. Cheers!

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