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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #1 
Ustad Rafi is a man of great patience. Those on this forum who know him will attest that his greatest virtue is a way of calmness and extreme patience. He has such a way of calm clearity that its a great joy to pose a seemingly un answerable question to him and see how he answers.

Ustad Rafi is not a sitarist, although he can pick one up and do alap on it and sound incredible....Not sure how, but years of music lets his hands reproduce from whats in his head and it sounds great...Anyway, i asked him on Sunday what he thinks about the 2 distinct styles of Sitar playing.

Ustad Rafi told me that as a young man working as staff at Kabul Radio, he remembered Ustad Vilayat Khan would come often and just really blow the audience away. He took notice of the Gaiyaki style of Sitar and he said that it reminded him of the Afghani dutar...almost exactly even. The Afghani dutar has a drone and a main playing string with 12 sympathetic strings. It could make a strong case as being the father or mother of the modern Sitar. Anyway, the Afghani dutar is a very lyrical instrument. If any of you want to here a master play it, just google the name Aziz Herawi and you will find a great example of this playing. Ustad Rafi always is careful to count the influence of Afghanistan in this music. Even though it was not Afghanistan at the time of the Moghuls, the importing of artists from there and there music style were what originally was played in the courts of the early moghuls. All of that is well documented, the influence, the hybridization, etc, etc.....

Ustad Rafi stated that the Sitar's amazing quality is that it has a magic capability of emotional capture. It acts as the relay for ones heart, thus its incredible beauty. Emotion has many facets...and whether it be a slow meditive of exciting khyal passage, the possibility is there for a performer to really lift the soul of the listener.

About the styles, Ustad Rafi said that there really is no such thing and that the division is due to how a performer unlocks his heart through the instrument. This begins by listening. The listener hears a performer that lifts him or her with a performance....More so than others...When time is decided to learn, that listener seeks out that rendering that lifted them originally.

Ustad reflected that many of those that he heard from Maihar tended to satisfy the meditive side of ICM. The beauty of Raag through the focus and descipline of note. The full exploration within 3 tetra chords of any given raga....A link to the ancient....The awakening of the deep spirituality of this music.

He also stated that those that bore the Imdad Khani were able to take the "Darbar" aspect of majesty....great excitement....technique that scooted you to the edge of your seat and would make realize the extreme beauty of this music is undeniable.

Both of these aspects will bring the listener to Maasti, or a devine state.

The question of "Style" comes down from influence of rendering. What makes one think that there is a difference is instrument design and approach. Other than that, its the same.

Baj, tihai, ornamentation...all the same in practise. The differences are just perceived......The reality, he says, is that there are those who choose 1 of the aspects the Sitar brings out and there are those who choose the other. Both parts share equal grace and beauty. He said imagine Shahid Parvez is given a Beenkar style Sitar...He would know exactly what to do as would Nikhil Banerjee was handed a Gaiyaki style Sitar.


A lot to read, but interesting point of view anyway. Agreement/disagreement welcome-Thanks ya'll-Josh

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Just a listener now....Was fun while i played though!
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #2 
Really nice post, Josh. Yes, I'm sure that either of those two would be able to adapt rather quickly to the different instruments or, for that matter, the different approaches. When I listen to the two differing schools, it seems easy to tell which is which, but I would be hard pressed to explain it to someone, especially the Alap.
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indrajit12sitar

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Reply with quote  #3 
Its very good post (bhalo post) Josh -- well written !

What I heard that Maihar is more towards Veen style becaue it uses four strings in alap and more than one string in gats. The lower octaves gives a feeling of Veena so more meditative as opposed to the gayaki style which mostly played on one string at higher scale so like Darbari - more flamboyant.

Its true that the goal is same-- the approach is different.

But I believe Maihar has more versatility and can create more sounds as it plays on more strings. Of course all depends on who is playing. I also think Maihar is more complicated to play as you deal with more combinations (if one really does so). Gayaki style players of course need too much meend to cause the effect of khayal, still less complicated.

But like I said just now it ALL depends on WHO is playing. When I listen Nikhil Banerjee's Bagesree or Malkaus -- or Vilayat Khansahib's Jayjayanti or Ravi Shankar's Bhimpalasi Alap and Jods -- I dont try to differentiate between the styles.

regards

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neela sangeeta

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Reply with quote  #4 
It's good to hear about Ustad Rafi, Josh. I have not seen him in a long time.

Responding to Indrajit, I have learned that Darbari actually is more meant to be played in the lower octaves, and is more of a meditative raga. Josh did talk bout the Darbar aspect, but I am not sure it applies to Darbari.

Neel
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indrajit12sitar

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "neela
It's good to hear about Ustad Rafi, Josh. I have not seen him in a long time.

Responding to Indrajit, I have learned that Darbari actually is more meant to be played in the lower octaves, and is more of a meditative raga. Josh did talk bout the Darbar aspect, but I am not sure it applies to Darbari.

Neel
Neel, I meant by "darbari" as like those are played in king's courts. I did not mean the rag "Darbari". I am sorry for wording -- it was a little bengalish type of use. By using " i" after a word I meant " of nature" or "suitable" etc.

Thanks

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