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miniyar

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Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #1 
I like to listen to Sitar and I want to learn to play sitar. Actually I wanted to learn it from my childhood.
I have absolutely zero knowledge of Indian classical music and Sitar, Can I still learn Sitar?

I am planning to learn Sitar basically from books. Is it possible to learn Sitar from books.

Which is the best book for the beginners like me who does not know anything of Sitar ?

I write with left hand . Does it mean that I will have to play sitar with left hand too.

Do I need to buy special sitar for left handed people?

I want to buy a basic but good quality inexpensive beginner's Sitar. Which sitar is best suited for me?

Once I start learning and devoting 1 hours / day for two - three days a week. How long will it take to learn
1) basic of Sitar.
2) Play basic ragas. [ strictly for self pleasure only.]


Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely,

Raj Miniyar
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element-82

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Posts: 317
Reply with quote  #2 
Welcome Raj,
I think you can learn anything you want to, if you work hard at it. If at all possible, you should start learning from a qualified teacher. There are just so many things you could do wrong and later it would be too hard to unlearn these things. I am talking about sitting position, right and left hand position/movement etc. There are a lot of basics that have to be done so that you can progress. Books are great if you are naturally musically inclined or already know how to play. (see my link).

You probably need to buy a left handed sitar, otherwise you will have to convert yourself to play right handed. NB lefties are harder to find.

If you are interested in sitar playing you should buy a sitar from a reputable dealer and spend as much as you can afford. You have to watch out for the occidental sitars many of which are not playable/tunable.

If you practise every day, it will take as long as it takes. Sorry to be unclear but everyone progresses differently and at different rates, with/out teacher etc. Is there a rush?

BTW where are you located. There may be others here who can help you with specific advise.

Pb
Quote:
Originally Posted by "miniyar"
I like to listen to Sitar and I want to learn to play sitar. Actually I wanted to learn it from my childhood.
I have absolutely zero knowledge of Indian classical music and Sitar, Can I still learn Sitar?

I am planning to learn Sitar basically from books. Is it possible to learn Sitar from books.

Which is the best book for the beginners like me who does not know anything of Sitar ?

I write with left hand . Does it mean that I will have to play sitar with left hand too.

Do I need to buy special sitar for left handed people?

I want to buy a basic but good quality inexpensive beginner's Sitar. Which sitar is best suited for me?

Once I start learning and devoting 1 hours / day for two - three days a week. How long will it take to learn
1) basic of Sitar.
2) Play basic ragas. [ strictly for self pleasure only.]


Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely,

Raj Miniyar

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Surbahar Dude (formerly Sitar Dude)
http://sitarplayer.net
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Amerikon

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
I write with left hand . Does it mean that I will have to play sitar with left hand too.
Do I need to buy special sitar for left handed people?
I'm a lefty who's been learning the sitar for a few months now (I played guitar poorly for about five years previous) and I would say that not only do you not need a special "left-handed" sitar, it is in your best interest to learn on a standard sitar. Provided that you have no other instrumental experience there should be no difference in learning with a lefty or a standard sitar. Playing standard is always better in that you have more choice when buying a new instrument, and you can play any sitar you encounter (a friend or teacher's) as opposed to a small handful of specially made sitars.

Any other lefties wanna back me up?

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Sam Charles
"Soy el hombre huevo, Ellos son los hombres huevo, !Soy la morsa!"
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Andius

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Posts: 84
Reply with quote  #4 
Hello Mimiyar,

I agree with Amerikon. I write left-handed, but play a normal right-handed sitar. As he points out, if you restrict yourself to a left-handed sitar only, choice of instrument will be limited, as very few made, and also usually expensive.

When you first play a right handed sitar, think of your left hand as "writing" on the frets; your right hand just supplies the "ink" (plucking). Not of course belittling the importance of good work with the mizrab (finger-pick). If you start with a right-handed sitar, then no problem.

Regarding buying you first sitar, as element82 said, dont buy the cheapest; they are often almost unplayable and can sound very bad.

Anyway Mimiyar, I wish you lots of sitar joy.
0
sitarman

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Posts: 599
Reply with quote  #5 
Hey, other lefties- great! I play left-handed and own two fine lefty sitars. I played guitar for 25 years before learning sitar so i had no choice but to get lefty instruments. However, starting from scratch, if your "strong" hand is your left hand then you may have an advantage learning righty, as your strong hand will be on the frets, whih initially requires much more strength than your picking hand. I also sometimes regret not being able to play other sitars I see.
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Joshua Feinberg

Senior Member
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Posts: 323
Reply with quote  #6 
hi miniyar,

you ask quite a few questions in such a short space! i'll answer a few. first of all, its never too late to learn! sitar is not traditionally tought from a book, hindustani music is an oral tradition; your teacher plays something and you repeat it back as accurately as possible. you can learn excercises from books, but it would take quite and advanced player to learn a raga that way. where do you live? you might be able to find a teacher in your area. if you want to start right away, you should get a copy of Ravi Shankar's 1968 autobiography 'My Music, My Life' (or is it the other way around? i can never remember! :-) ) and get a mirror. watch yourself play in the mirror and correct your hand positions and your posture until you look like what Raviji looks like in the back of the book (the sitar tutorial). i should say that i think this is a bad way to learn sitar, and HIGHLY recommend you find a teacher, but if theres no other way. . .

your last question is how long will it take to learn to play? not only is this impossible to answer, but its frustrating to even be asked it. everyone is different. theres no rule book. practicing 3hrs a week (not very much at all) will probably not help you too much. if you really want to learn to play, you'd need to sit for 3-4hrs every day, and then it would take years to learn properly. a lifetime really. how long would it take you to draw, or write poetry? equally unanswerable. . .

ND

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"Practice is the word, because without practice you cannot take one step more," Pt. Nikhil Banerjee
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beenkar

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Posts: 394
Reply with quote  #7 
Beenkar Suvir is one of the only performing left handed players of Sitar , Surbahar and Veena............
you can get in touch with him on suvir.misra@beenkar.com to exchange his experiences.

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