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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #1 
Question: why are there less than 50 topics about sarod but over 1000 about sitar and over 900 about tabla?

How can we promote sarod?

How can we make it easier for people to learn?

Why do people start to learn but give up quickly, or don't progress? (to be honest I don't know if people do do that because I have had so few students myself but these might be some typical situations).

Simon Sarodplayer

Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #2 
Well it's intresting that you bring this age old, yet very important topic up. This is something that was much discussed at the Ali Akbar College after classes over the years.
You have to look at it this way, we all want instant gratification and since the sitar being a fretted instrument, even a beginner will be in tune. Now this provides encouragement to learn furthur. Also the question of cultivating strong fingernails comes up with the Sarod, which is difficult in itself.
I think Sarodist Vasant Rai mentions this in a interview in Frets magazine.
Personally I think the Sarod is ergonomically taxing, its a heavier instrument, while the Sitar is easy on the hands.
Thats one aspect.
Culturally the Sitar has been more prominent in India.
Vilayat Khans ancestors as well as other prominent familes had already established the instrument in the culture. The Sarod has not been represented even fractionally.
Statues of the mother of wisdom Sarasvati are always depected with her holding a Veena which is a close relative to the sitar. So the Sitar has allways been a fammilar and established figure in Indian culture.
Of coures we all know why the Sitar is more known in the west than all other Indian Instruments put together. This is the genius of Pandit Ravi Shankars personality.
If Raviji was a Sarod player then the Sarod would have been famous.

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Posts: 143
Reply with quote  #3 
I like to think it's because all of the sarode players are too busy practicing! Actually, I always look at this forum hoping to see a new discussion happening. I find myself more and more attracted to the sarode, but having spent over a year learning on the sitar, the thought of no frets is very intimidating. I'll start a thread about that . . .

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #4 
Does anyone have suggestions on where I can buy a good smaller sarod to start a 7-year old out with. I have seen a few on the web, but they appear to be display-quality only!


Posts: 204
Reply with quote  #5 
If you sift through the available documented history of instrumental music in India, you will find that the sitar is a much older instrument than the sarod. Moreover, the sarod is indeed very taxing on a beginner because it is fretless, but then as they say, the sitar gets more and more difficult as one graduates to higher levels, and the sarod becomes easier as one progresses. The reason is simple. In order to be an effective sitarist, one must be able to pull at least 4.5 notes on one fret, which isn't easy, whereas, once the fingernails and note-positions are set with proper practice exercises, the sarod is virtually painless to play. Of course, if you are practicing 5-6 hours a day (which I have done at different points in time), any instrument can be taxing. The fact of the matter remains that both instruments are equally challenging if one wants to play either at a respectable level.

The sitar has had a much closer association with vocal music right since the mid-eighteenth century, and has always served as a stepping stone for aspiring beenkars. This suggests that the sitar has been considered an effective vehicle for raga music for much longer than the sarod. The reasons for this, of course, could have been many, and there can be many different interpretations thereof. The fact that the early sarods might have been less conducive to the reproduction of vocal nuances such as murkis, khatkas and gamaks at a level of speed and clarity comparable to singers, could be one of the reasons for its relegation, until the 20th century, to the playing of lighter gat-todas, and that too, largely in thumri-oriented ragas (Kafi, Gara, Zila, Tilang, Jhinjhoti, etc). I have played on a number of very old (constructed circa 1905) sarods from the Jon Barlow collection in Kolkata, and in spite of the gorgeous sound, they are hard to control because of extremely thick necks. Rather unyielding to the endeavor of playing ekhara taans.

One poster has mentioned Ravi Shankar's contribution towards popularizing the sitar. That is indeed a very important issue. Many people, Westerners in particular (and sadly, many Indians too these days), who are very familiar with the sitar, don't have a clue as to what a sarod is. Two weeks ago, at the end of a concert at the Tata Theatre, Mumbai, I was asked this question (as to what instrument I just played) by an Indian gentleman, and minutes later, by an Englishman. Both claimed familiarity with the sitar at some peripheral level. In India, the popularity of the sitar has much to do with the ready availability of sitar classes at various music schools across the country which serve as finishing schools for the marriageable daughters of the wealthy. This industry also helps sustain numerous sitar players who wouldn't have made it as concert artists even by a long shot. While this may not help the cause of HCM at the highest levels, it certainly does bring more people to the music by spreading this sort of peripheral awareness. In the West, the credit goes singularly to Pandit Ravi Shankar. No other Indian musician was able to market his craft as successfully as Panditji - no one even came close, as Ali Akbar Khan was too busy teaching and never was focused on promoting his career (not to mention the fact that Vilayat Khan wasn't touring much in the US in the swinging '60s). So it would be a mix of the above reasons why there are so many more threads in the sitar forum than there are on the sarod forum. Of course, there is also the "my way or the highway" attitude amongst many (Indian as well as Western) practitioners of this music that stems from fierce gharana loyalty and that too in an era where the gharana is a socio-economically redundant idea.

As for obtaining a sarod for a seven-year-old, try contacting Oriental Musikraft. They make these mini-sarods for all teachers in Calcutta. These mini-sarods don't have a great sound as the inside carving is inevitably sloppy and the string action almost always too high for kids to handle. I've always had to re-engineer them things for my kid students. Another option is to try making one yourself for your kid.

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Posts: 394
Reply with quote  #6 

your observations are much more worth ...... should be given to a jeweler than leaving them on the streets........

रंग भरयौ मुसकात लला निकस्यौ कल कुंजन ते सुखदाई
टूटि गयो घर को सब बंधन छूटि गौ आरज- लाज- बड़ाई

Posts: 204
Reply with quote  #7 

I really don't understand where your sarcasm stems from.


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