INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Using a chromatic tuner for sitar

 

Author Message
neal
Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jan 17, 2002 04:53 p.m.


I just bought a Sabine chromatic tuner upon recommendation of one of my patients. Is this a good idea? Will it work - as long I you hold down all of the sympathetic strings less the one I am tuning?
Lars
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jan 17, 2002 07:46 p.m.


Hi Neal, yes it will work........for the sympathetics though it's best to tune it to the fret as Peter talked about in another post. You could use the tuner for the main strings and check your fret positions, etc.
Jeff
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Aug 30, 2002 11:15 a.m.


Speaking of tuners,where can I get a tone generator with all tones ? I have the Ashwin Batish videos and thats what he uses but he gives no details where to find one. I havent tried my local music stores cause I figure they'll try to rip me off on it. Whats the average price for one. What sabine do you use? I have the old ST-1000 and it tunes every string but the real heavy 4th string.
Jeffrey R King
K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Aug 30, 2002 12:55 p.m.


Hey Jeff: Save your hard earned cash! Hi-end electronic tuners are great for tuning instruments on stage or in an environment where you need to plug in and tune in a hurry, or silently, but all you reeeeally need for your sitar is the tuner you already have. As Peter C. states in previous posts, it's best to tune your Sa note with your tuner (pitch pipe, wine glass, hollowed out log, whatever) and then tune the other playing strings relative to that note, using harmonics and listening to the "beats" as the string you're tuning gets closer to the note you're tuning off of. Then, as Larsji stated, tune your tarbs to the corresponding fretted notes, to get them to sing out properly. Tuning this way is the only way the sitar is going to be in tune with ITSELF. And as an added bonus, it develops your ear! Also, you might have to repeat the process a couple of times if the instrument was badly out of tune, because by the time you get to the last string you're tuning, the others are now slighty out of tune due to the change in overall tension. Hey, doesn't Ashwin show you how to tune your playing strings to harmonics in one of his videos? - K.K.
Stephen
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 03, 2002 06:28 a.m.


As I couldn't find a tuner that would work correctly. I bought a "C" tuning fork. I tune my Ma string with the Ni fret stopped to this, thus a C# tuning. Very reliable, cheap and transportable. People have been tuning sitars for many centuries without fancy gadgets, why should we start now.
Bob
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 03, 2002 12:38 p.m.


I was down at the music store the other day and on an Ali Akbar Khan CD there is a photo of what seems to be his "gear." Along with sarode, picks and a few other things, I see a chromatic pitchpipe. They are certainly cheaper than the tone generators Ashwin Batish recommends. I may invest in one to improve my tuning of the sympathetic strings.
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 03, 2002 12:57 p.m.


I have used a cheap harmonica for a long time, but its getting rusty. So, I put in an order at a local music shop for a C# tuning fork. They don't usually carry them as C# is unusual, but they're very reliable and fairly cheap. Pitch pipe is OK I guess, but all I really need is only one reference note to tune my whole sitar with.
Stephen
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 03, 2002 02:53 p.m.


Russ,
Most tuning fork dealers will not break a set, thus C# is not a standard fork. But, like I've pointed out earlier (I might not have stated it to clearly), stop your 1st string on the 6th fret and tune that to a C and the yield will be C# on the 7th fret (Sa). You will then be able to tune the rest using this string as your reference. Very cheap and easy.
Lars
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 03, 2002 08:53 p.m.


Howdy!
You can try one of these:
http://www.radelindia.com/PROD-DHRUVA.htm
My teacher uses one religiously, order right out of India but the shipping is as much as the product but still worth it. Fed Ex to your door.....
I have the CD deluxe......


Lars

Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 05, 2002 03:43 p.m.


In my opinion, absolute pitch is irrelevant to indian music anyway. For me, a pitch pipe or fork is just for a reference. Depending on on how my fingers are feeling at the time, I tune higher or lower. I think I'm in D most of the time. I think Indrajit tunes in something like a C double-sharp or close to it. You say our notes are a full half step higher than the indian equivalent. What's your source for that?
I forget how the scales are fashioned. I'm wondering, is the chromatic scale the same as the "natural" scale, or is it based on logs?
One reason why I like the Raagini type sampled tanpura machine is that you can fine tune it over 3/4 of an octave if it begins to drift. I've had mine for 8 months now, and I don't notice any.
Amitava
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 05, 2002 01:05 p.m.


Few warnings - 1) Some tanpura models shift their pitch and settle 2) The "Indian C#" or any electronic/harmonium reference is NOT the same as the western frequency. It is around half a note lower 3) The Indian scale - like the Greek (and old European) scale is "natural" not logarithmic. This does not make a major difference, unless you are very sensitive to pitch...just FYI. I am not sure whether the tanpuras take this into account.

If the logarithmic scale is acceptable, any tuner from korg (http://www.korg.com/) or boss should work to tune the strings AND frets. The ear method as mentioned earlier is better - but the gauge method is fine if your tuner can handle it. The tanpura (especially the sampled kind) is useful only for a background and a reference pitch in my opinion. The reference pitch tuners give me a headache after a while.

Lars
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 05, 2002 10:59 p.m.


Hi Amitava!
Nice to see you here.......my synthesizer has a scale setting to the Indian pitch....it is a little different. It also does just about every other scale, none of which I'll ever use.......
My Raagini drifts a little, I let it run awhile and don't tune to it as it just gets messy....I have the same tone box Indrajit has but don't use it all the time....

Lars

Amitava
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 09:38 a.m.


Russ - a clarification. Compare an electronic tanpura made in India's C pitch with a western tuner and you will probably find that the pitch does not match. Different makers/models seem to have differences in the pitches as well. I did not mean to say that the "Indian" reference pitch measurement system is a different system than the Western reference. It is just that the two will probably not be the same. So I use a western tuner to set the reference pitch for a tanpura/sa and then use the ear to tune the remaining strings/frets as described in the thred.

You are correct - the chromatic scale is the log scale.

Indrajit tunes his instrument between C# and D depending on the needs of the moment - and the state of the jawari. But every instrument will have its "best" sounding range.

Most Ragini's drift in the first few min of turning on and then settle. I just do not turn mine off after the pitch settles - just lower thee volume to 0. You are very lucky to have obtained a unit that does not have this "feature"

Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 10:44 a.m.


Hi Amitava;
Thanks for the reply. Sounds like you, Lars and I all take lessons from Indrajit. Just wish he was here more often. Understand your clarification on the tuning and scales. I have never compared western and Indian pitch to see how they match up. I'll keep that in mind when the tuning fork comes in. Like you, I tune all the other strings by ear as well. Injrajit showed me how to find the best tonic for my Mangla sitar, and he tuned it to that. Wow, what a difference! It sings with very little help from me now. And every sitar will be a little different.
I use the Riyaz Raagini machine, but I notice no drift. But then again, I don't use it to tune my sitar to. In fact, I tune the machine to my sitar when I'm ready to play, which is usually a few minutes after I first sit down. The machine is barely audible when I start. So maybe by that time, the machine is already "settled in"?
Stephen
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 11:53 a.m.


Russ,
Is it possible to explain how Indrajit finds the tonic over this forum? Or is that something that one needs to be in a live setting for the explaination?
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 02:57 p.m.


Stephen;
You're right that it can't be explained in a silent forum like this. To see (and hear) it done is the only way. That is only one of the reasons why a live teacher is so valuable.
K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 04:06 p.m.


O'Gourdy: You're holding out on us! You can at least TRY and explain how it's done;-) - K.K.
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 06, 2002 06:08 p.m.


OK, OK! Here's a freebie for you ($30 for me). Don't blame me if it sounds a little like voodoo!
Detune your 3rd and 4th strings to around a B, and hook them down (won't work if you don't have a hook on your top fret). Now tune them up to a C and play a mid C note (7th fret). Stick your ear down to the hooked strings and listen closely. If you don't hear anything from them, then tune both up to around a sixteenth step or so, and then play a meend to the same note. Keep doing that until you actually hear your muted/hooked strings suddenly sing (the voodoo part) and you will have found the best tonic for your sitar. At that frequency, it should sing its little heart out! Forget about half-notes, quarter-notes, and all that. We're talking about shrutis here, the magic of the microtones. Ready for this? That's also one among several of the secrets behind why the original stradivarious sounded so good when it was first made. The entire instrument, not just the strings, vibrated at its "natural frequency". So there you go.......
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 08, 2003 02:42 p.m.


OK, digging out an old topic here. Lots of good stuff! I agree that tuning an instrument to itself is probably the best, especially the sympathetics.

I have a cheap Korg that I still use, but am getting used to tuning to the instrument. I never thought of muffling the sympathetics while tuning the main strings on the tuner; makes perfect sense though.

Meanwhile, my question is, is there such a thing as a chromatic tuner that displays "Ma", "Sa", etc instead of F#, C#, etc? I'm trying real hard to learn the Indian names for the notes, and the tuner knocks me for a loop every time I use it! I guess I need to stop using it as soon as possible, but I still need that crutch! Still, if I could find a tuner that spoke the right language (but displayed in English characters) I'd probably like to get it.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Remco
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 08, 2003 04:31 p.m.


My teacher uses a boss-tuner, that can use a sound that can be modified in tuning in cents. She actually compensates when tuning:
Sa = 0
Re=1
b Ga = 0
Ga= -2 or-1
Ma = 0
Ma# = 1
Pa = 1/ or 11/2
bDa = 1
Da = -1
bNi = 0
Ni = 1
She'll also check her tuning with notes compared to each other:
Pa(low) to Re
Re to Da
Ga to Ni
Ma to Sa

She also told me the differences in tuning occur with different ragas
Hope it's somewhat clear.

Peace,

Remco

Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 08, 2003 04:34 p.m.


I have a 1978 model D mini-moog that I used to tune with, but those old moogs were subject to A440 drift after a few years. So I just use a pitch pipe instead nowdays. Works just fine. I've never seen a chromatic tuner using sargam (indian notes). Funny thing about learning sargam. In time, you tend to forget the western notes. No longer relevant.
jan
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 08, 2003 07:35 p.m.


Howdy Russ!

Since your moog is suffering the A440 drift and you got your cromatic tuner. I was just thinking, perheps you could ask your moog if it wants to move to Norway. Im sure the climatic change will do it good, and about the nasty A440, we dont have that problem over here, i promise (ehh...)

All!

Im tunig out of one string to. The dail tone in Norway is A440 so i sometimes use the phone, or my ear...
that tinitus is a perfect c#.

jan

Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 09, 2003 10:46 a.m.


The phone dial. Now, that really is unique!
jan
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 09, 2003 02:09 p.m.


Yes its true!
In Norway the tone you hear before you start dailing anything happens to be 440Hz.

I guess a mobile phone will do the trick and produce a reference tone to tune after. Most mobile phones gives you the ability to compose you own music. I guess the c# is in there somewhere�

Jan

K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 09, 2003 02:30 p.m.


A few weeks ago, after practicing, I noticed that my electric razor is tuned to C# (on a full charge)
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 09, 2003 03:02 p.m.


Ever sit down next to a large fan, and hum along to the low drone note produced by it? large fan? Its weird, but I have memories from when I was a kid doing that. I would hum that note and listen to the amplification effect of both notes being combined. And if you hum slightly off key, you get that cool "beat frequency" thing going (difference between the two frequencies). Never realized it, but that later became known as additive synthesis technique in the older analog synthesizers. And the beat frequency effect is one of the sound sources in my mini moog. Way off topic here, but just a nice memory. Jan, I don't have a chromatic tuner, just a pitch pipe. I only need one note for tuning.
Pb
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 09, 2003 04:33 p.m.


Hi,
I've been thinking about the same thing. I have a chromatic tuner that I don't really trust, or at least that note doesn't sound right on my sitar. So, I usually tune to the harmonium. Since I am not as experienced as many of you, I thought, well why not buy a harmonium? Getting Sa and then tuning the tarbs from there is a great idea!
In the meantime, I am using an opensource programme to generate sine waves, and I built a digital harmonium on top of that. Currently, I tune to this, which is kind of like the tuning fork I guess, but nevertheless a free solution (not exactly portable).

Any idea what the freq is for C on a harmonium? I'm using 261.63. All the other notes are fractions of that one. Once I am happy with it I will release it. BTW it has a tabla player built in as well.

Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 10, 2003 11:51 a.m.


Here's something interesting; a software version of a Chromatic Tuner you can use on your PC. This comes from fmjsoft. I have a different program from them that I've been using for a long time, and while at their site looking for updates, I discovered their tuner named "Chromatica". Its quite a well-featured tuner that also outputs tones, which is probably the best feature. I've played around with it a little, and it seems to work pretty well.
Their website is: http://www.fmjsoft.com/

Look for the link in the left frame.

The software to download is "Chromatia Tuner v2.6". It is a 30-day fully-working evaluation. You're supposed to register for $25 to keep it.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 10, 2003 01:34 p.m.


That's pretty cool, Billy. Gonna try this one. And you can even program in your own scales (all the taats and melas you can handle).
Amitava
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 10, 2003 02:44 p.m.


I have ben using the CA30 from Korg...Very compact...inevpensive (got from ebay at $15 + 2.50 sh) allows you to deviate from the 440 reference...and keeps the scale going with the adjustment. Also very energy efficient.

Tarun Bhattacharya (the santoor player) uses one to tune all of his close to 100 strings...so we should be able to manage 18 strings without a prob.

But Russ is correct...one important aspect of tuning Indian instruments is just to have one reference nore...the sa...and go from there. This is not just because of tradition, but also how you recognize raags, listen for subtleties, etc... Listening is a sort of tuning.

Therefore it is not important if the refecnce pitch shows up in chinese/japanese... As long as you know how to increase/decrease the pitch on the tuner by 1/2 semitone...you can tune any other note.

Someone mentioned about the subtleties in the relative pitches - depending on raag. That is an accurate statement... but lost for most practical situations. The ear seems to ajust to enjoy either way. I do not see sitar players ajusting every fret when switching raags...

Sa - reference pitch
Re kimal - +1 semitone
Re shudda - +1 note (2 semitones)

etc...etc..

My 2 cs..

Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 10, 2003 07:25 p.m.



Russ (Jul 10, 2003 01:34 p.m.):
That's pretty cool, Billy. Gonna try this one. And you can even program in your own scales (all the taats and melas you can handle).

I've been writing the author in Sweden about this tuner. I asked if it would be possible to allow customizable note names. He said he is considering it in the next version, but wasn't sure if it would make it or not. Then he asked me about Sitar tuning, and he might be able to make presets. So I explained the notion of tonic being set to the instrument. I told him the most common were C and C#, and gave him the scales for both. So who knows, we may end up with something nifty. Still, the presets would be nice, but it would overall be best if we can assign our own note names.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 10, 2003 07:33 p.m.



Amitava (Jul 10, 2003 02:44 p.m.):
I have ben using the CA30 from Korg...Very compact...inevpensive (got from ebay at $15 + 2.50 sh) allows you to deviate from the 440 reference...and keeps the scale going with the adjustment. Also very energy efficient.
My 2 cs..

Until today, I have been using the CA20, which I got with my Mountain Dulcimer. Pretty nice, always worked pretty well, I have the cable that attaches directly to the instrument for better results.The only difference between it and the CA30 is the tone generator. Anyway, as of this afternoon I now have the CA30 which I too got off of eBay. Yes, its tone generator is cool. I haven't spent much time with it yet, but I think I'm going to like it ok. One thing, its seems a little more responsive than the older CA20.

The advantage of the software version I wrote about is the distinct possibility of being more customizable that a hardware tuner. It depends on what the author is willing to put into it.

Again, I do agree that tuning the instrument to itself has to be the better alternative, but for some of us, that's something we'll have to train our ear better for. So a tuner is a pretty good idea.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 09:33 a.m.


I can use my Raagini tanpura machine now to tune up. These things are wonderful, no more begging the wife or friends to sit there and pluck the real tanpura for background drone. And no more complaining after 5 minutes either.

I recommend them highly!
Danimal
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 03:21 p.m.


My understanding was that, in many cases, the instrumentalist/vocalist asks one of his/her more senior students to play the tanpura at a concert/recital. It is an honor to be asked, plus the student gets a wealth of experience by being on stage during the performance.

Sometimes, at smaller recitals or if the performer has traveled overseas and couldn't afford to give his/her student a plane ticket, a local musician or even a well-versed ICM enthusiast will play the tanpura.

The use of the digital tanpura in concert has led to a big decrease of the latter instance occurring, though.

Dan

Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 09:47 a.m.


I would imagine playing the tanpura must be really boring, and can't understand why anyone would want to learn. Am I wrong? Something I've notice on the Ravi Shankar DVDs are the tampura players are sitting way back in the corners, with little light on them, as if they weren't there, although Shankar always introduces them. I hope at least they get paid well!!
Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 11:52 a.m.


Go to a Shankar concert before he retires. He spends a lot of time with those tanpura folks to get ensure their tuning is just right. Believe it or not, he does listen to them closely while playing, especially during the alap portion. You can set the "pulse" to the alap using the tanpura, and the sitarist usually follows. So, you become a part of the picture.
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 02:51 p.m.



Russ (Jul 11, 2003 11:52 a.m.):
Go to a Shankar concert before he retires. He spends a lot of time with those tanpura folks to get ensure their tuning is just right. Believe it or not, he does listen to them closely while playing, especially during the alap portion.

Oh, I'm not denying the importance of the tanpura player, I just don't get why someone would want to be one. I can't imagine someone coming home from a Shankar concert and telling everyone "Hey, that was cool, I want to be a tanpura player!"

I can see someone that already plays a sitar or sarode or something wanting to learn tanpura just to be well rounded. I can see a musical family assigning the tanpura to their fourth child perhaps. I can see it as perhaps a spiritual quest. But I believe they are unsung heros, and its really a little sad to see them sitting in the back corners of the stage. As I said before, I certainly hope they are never replaced electronically in live performance. OK to practice with the machine; in fact, probably for most of us, absolutely necessary!!

By the way, I've not seen Shankar live, but I have seen many other ICM concerts, and the kind of working-together you describe of Shankar with his players happens quite a bit with others. Obviously, all instruments need to be tuned with each other, and other than perhaps the harmonium, I suspect the tanpura probably stays in tune better than anything else. So it may make more sense to tune other instruments to it than the other way around.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 03:01 p.m.


I don't think there is such a thing as a professional tanpura player. I can't imagine that. But, I have noticed that many vocalists accompany themselves on tanpura, especially females. But I tell you what. If somebody asked me to play tanpura for Ravi at a concert, I'm there. I rather imagine that in itself might be the attraction!
K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 05:14 p.m.


Danimal is absolutely correct. I'm currently taking sitar lessons from one of Raviji's student/tanpura players. The tanpura players don't get paid, just food and transportation when touring. But what a privilege to be able to study that closely with the master!


Danimal (Jul 11, 2003 03:21 p.m.):
My understanding was that, in many cases, the instrumentalist/vocalist asks one of his/her more senior students to play the tanpura at a concert/recital. It is an honor to be asked, plus the student gets a wealth of experience by being on stage during the performance.

Sometimes, at smaller recitals or if the performer has traveled overseas and couldn't afford to give his/her student a plane ticket, a local musician or even a well-versed ICM enthusiast will play the tanpura.

The use of the digital tanpura in concert has led to a big decrease of the latter instance occurring, though.

Dan


Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 06:23 p.m.


True enough. When Kartik Seshadri, one of Ravi's seniors, came to our college to play a couple of years ago, the head of the percussion dept was asked to play tanpura for him. He jumped at the chance. To play tanpura for one of the masters, or your teacher for that matter, is an honor.
Jeff
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 11, 2003 06:32 p.m.


I'd play tanpura! "Man oh man!" it would be great to just sit in with a talented sitarist, right in the middle of it all just sucking up the vibe!
I love going to ICM concerts. I've seen violin, sarode, sitar and surbahar recitals and they all blow me away. Next I'm looking forward to veena and vocals. I've heard recordings of them and they're great.
Anyone know of any good instrumental veena CD's? I'm open to all recommendations. I plan on getting a carnatic veena in a few years,, hopefully.
jan
Playing Tamboura Jul 12, 2003 04:18 a.m.


Howdy folks!

I just got to tell you, some months ago i was asked to play Tanpura with Roop Verma during a Nada Yoga seminar in Bergen Norway (my home town) first ICM to drift by in a looong time.

Roop Verma gave me instructions and we practiced 2 times before the consert. Before he came to town i did my homework and dropped into www.roopverma.com

I found this:

"The Tamboura is one of the most ancient instruments of India. It has four to six strings and comes in various sizes. The purpose of the Tamboura is to provide the essential drone effect in a sustained manner. Seemingly very simple to play, this instrument requires tremendous focus, control, and concentration in order to play, so that it will complement and not disturb the tonal structures and the interplay of notes of the melody (Raga).

"I have heard many good singers and instrumentalists, but have heard only a few exceptional Tamboura players in the last 40 years of my journey through the world of music."

-Roop Verma �"


When i meet Roop i asked him about this, he told me that some of these few exeptional players would put you straight into meditation when playing. Please read the Nada Yoga link on Roops page.

This will not work for everybody, surely you would need to be seriously into meditation and not new to Nada Yoga.

Anyways, im sure everyone can pling, plong those strings, but the ability to keep a steady beat for 30-40 minutes is an impressive task for most people. The ability to play correct so that you produce the correct frequenies and allways have the correct pressure on the strings. I enjoyed the playing, but really i know i could have done a lot better if i had practised the instrument for a couple of years. The audience was very content and loved the performance including the tanpura : )

For me the thing was to close my eyes and let go, and just float on the drone. The Tanpura (however you may want to spell it) is a fantastic drone instrument that can take you into into the music for relaxing, enjoyment and meditation.

Jan

Lars
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 12, 2003 01:10 p.m.


I've gotten to play tanpura a few times and really enjoy it except that you kind of miss the concert in a sense because you are focusing on the drone...Also the first time was a very small venue and I ended up playing it with fingers down like a bass....ha ha. But it was much easier and the sound was even.......I vote that they change the technique officially?
Lars
Amitava
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 01:12 a.m.


agree with Lars...Tanpura playing seems romantics..but requires focus. Deters from performance in my opinion. Yes...if you have done it a lot with musicians..the process becomes more instinctive. Hey people complain here about pain....trust me your fingers r in trouble...as r your hip/legs if you do not do it often..

As to the claim...that the tanpura is an ancient instruments...it is the ususal crap. 200 years or so is not ancient. No image or reference to such an instrument occurs before then. The usual grovelling of tradition...without purpose/proof. However, I agree the sound of one is nice to sink into.

My 2 cs.
A

P.S. Jeff, the vina tradition is quite rick.. Visit http://www.sawf.org/music/interviews/veena/veena.asp?pn=Music if you wish to learn a little about the instrument and some associated topics. The is also a yahoo group called vainika.

Jan
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 03:59 a.m.


Fokus, yes!

when i did the most mistakes was in the moments when i focused on what Roop was playing. And specially when i was looking (at his playing) at the same time. : (


jan

Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 09:13 a.m.



Russ (Jul 11, 2003 11:52 a.m.):
Believe it or not, he does listen to them closely while playing, especially during the alap portion. You can set the "pulse" to the alap using the tanpura, and the sitarist usually follows. So, you become a part of the picture.

You know, I was just thinking about this, and was reminded of noticing that Ravi Shankar has what appears to be a large hearing aid in his ear. I wonder if that's what it really is, or is it a receiver for a communications system. The reason I mention this is other performers use these, often to hear a metronome keeping a beat, or to hear other amplified instruments better. Even magicians like David Copperfield wear them to hear importantant information from the stage manager (I've worked stage crew for a few magic shows.)

Since most hearing devices these days are quite small, I would assume the larger device he is wearing may not be a hearing device, or at least, it may be a hearing device with additional functions.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 11:06 a.m.


I rather doubt it does more than just amplify sound. He wears it everywhere he goes. After all, he is getting on up there, around 83 I think. I don't know all that much about these hearing aids, but it is possible they make them nowadays with built-in filters. It would not surprise me if his is "tailor-made" to amplify selected frequencies and mute the rest.
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 11:36 a.m.



Russ (Jul 14, 2003 11:06 a.m.):
I don't know all that much about these hearing aids, but it is possible they make them nowadays with built-in filters. It would not surprise me if his is "tailor-made" to amplify selected frequencies and mute the rest.

You're probably right. In fact, he may even have different aids for different situations.

The "Portrait" file had so many great close-ups, its easy to pick up on the little things.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 01:13 p.m.


Hi All: Raviji is wearing just a plain old hearing aid. He is quite hard of hearing these days. This is the reason why you see Anoushka tuning his sitar on stage.
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 01:27 p.m.


OK, I'll do the honors of the 50th post on this thread (whew)....
You know, if his hearing is that bad, I wonder if he can hear what he's playing? Beethoven could get away with it, but can Raviji? Man, being deaf would be the end of me!
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 14, 2003 01:50 p.m.



Russ (Jul 14, 2003 01:27 p.m.):
OK, I'll do the honors of the 50th post on this thread (whew)....
You know, if his hearing is that bad, I wonder if he can hear what he's playing? Beethoven could get away with it, but can Raviji? Man, being deaf would be the end of me!

One of the neat features of the Portrait DVD was the filming of one of the group's practice sessions. I guarantee he heard every one of the instruments there, and was correcting them when needed.

Man, its been a while since I saw this DVD, guess I'll have to go home and watch it again to see what other details I can pick out of it....


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Amitava
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 08:11 a.m.


All I know is that when I heard RS's Live Carnegi and the DVD (new one) performances - it was quite sad. Don't know whether it his hearing aid or physical condition, but Pandit RS sounded like a young child ... in his playing...and it was not cute. Very painful to listen to. It was sader on a social level to see him get (or was it just nomminated) the Grammy for it.

I may get blasted for the comment, but short of love, there is no justification for praising the CURRENT quality of his performances. He remains a great musician mentally - and his past performances were incredible...as his contributions to the area of performing arts.

A

Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 09:13 a.m.



Amitava (Jul 15, 2003 08:11 a.m.):
All I know is that when I heard RS's Live Carnegi and the DVD (new one) performances - it was quite sad. Don't know whether it his hearing aid or physical condition, but Pandit RS sounded like a young child ... in his playing...and it was not cute. Very painful to listen to. It was sader on a social level to see him get (or was it just nomminated) the Grammy for it.

I may get blasted for the comment, but short of love, there is no justification for praising the CURRENT quality of his performances.


I agree that the Full Circle/Carnegie Hall CD was not a great performance, but I'm not so sure I would call it sad or childlike. Then again, I'm certainly not as well-versed in ICM and sitars as most of you would be; I've listened to it for years for pleasure and meditation, not as a critic, nor with understanding of ICM. I do listen to that CD occasionally, I guess only because its something different. By the way, the CD did win "Best World Music Album" for 2001. That, I think is sad, because there's been so much great work out in the last few years, not just in ICM.

BTW, I found Anoushka's Carnegie Hall CD, which was recorded at the same 10/6/2000 concert as Pdt Shankar's, a little bit more enjoyable, but somewhat remedial, if you know what I mean. Though she can put down some mean licks, there were some long passages that I could almost do, and I have a sitar carreer of weeks, not 11 years she had when the CD was made. Still, I think she has a lot of promise if she keeps pushing herself.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 02:43 p.m.


I�m an avid Formula One racecar fan. Back in the late �70s when they were still running F1 cars here at the Long Beach Grand Prix (it�s an Indy car race now) they had an �Old-Timers� exhibition where they brought out these old classic F1 cars, and the world champion drivers who made them famous. I remember seeing the great legend, 5-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, in his 1955 Mercedes, kind of lumbering around the track. I remember thinking, �It looks SO SLOW compared with the current 200 mph state of the art carbon fiber wonders.� But there was a �style� to Fangio�s driving. You could FEEL it, even at such a (relatively) slow tempo. God, it was great to see
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 03:32 p.m.


Speed is not what makes a great artist! There are plenty of artists that specialize in the slower styles like dhrupadi, and they certainly have their fans. Control and the ability to capture the listener is most important IMHO. KK, I drive a 20-year old porsche. Its only 125 hp, and compared with the twin turbos of today, its a turtle. But it looks real good and is still fun to drive. So, I'm still OK with that. I'm not competing with the rocket cars!
Stephen
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 04:16 p.m.


Are we talking about Ravi Shankar or Johnny Winter here. I've seen both live in the last few years. At least Pandit Shankar could make it to the stage unassisted and at a relatively spry rate of speed. Granted, neither can play as fast as they use to, but guess which one maintained the integrity of each note rendered. Speed or excessive meends don't make a master (although they can pave the way), purity of the notes played go much further, but when one can still find totally new ways in which to render a raga that he has played a great many times throughout his life (to the point of even surprising himself), I think this is the way one earns the title of Pandit or Ustad. Now, Johnny...once you prop him up against a Marshall or something he can still wail.
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 15, 2003 07:13 p.m.


Yeah, I don't think K.K.'s metaphor was so much about the speed as it was about the style, and Pdt Shankar has plenty of style. I'm sure many of us youngsters would dream of playing half as well as he does at 83!

By the way, I saw Johnny WInter in Houston just a few years ago. He's lived a hard life, didn't take care of himself, and is paying for it, but man, he can play!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 09:35 a.m.


I saw Winter about 15 years ago at a small club and he didnt look to good then but he sure did play!
I missed my chance to see Ravi last year in Philadelphia though.
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 11:24 a.m.


Being a guitarist, Johnny is in my top ten as well. I saw him over 30 years ago when his name recognition outside of Texas was much less. He was so far ahead of his time that people we're sure how to take his heat! Similar to Hendrix.

For those of us who remember the Ravi of the late 60s, that's not quite the same man up there now. But frankly, I don't expect it to be. I listen to a lot of younger sitarists now, but there'll always be a special place in my memories that he will live on.

Danimal
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 01:16 p.m.


I think there's an aspect to seeing a "legend" perform that transcends the actual musical performance. If you were to tape a present-day Ravi concert and have someone listen to it, they might not get as jazzed about it as someone who was there during the performance.

A few years ago I saw Pt. Vilayat Khan play in Dallas...now, he's an old guy and maybe the concert wouldn't meet the same critical standards that he met when he was younger, but to be there the moment the notes were being created certainly added something extra to the experience. Definitely a high-water mark in my ICM concert memories.

I've never seen Pt. Shankar perform, but I'd jump at the chance.......and he's not my favorite player (but he's still awesome).

Don't even get me started on what I'd give to go back in time and see Pt. Bannerjee play!

Dan

Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 02:18 p.m.


That's actually Ust. Khan, but I doubt Pt. would bother him. Means about the same.
Vilayat was never commercial like Ravi, so I never saw his concerts advertised, and consequently never saw him live. My loss.

Going to a concert by anybody good is always a better experience than passively viewing videos or listening to CDs/DVDs. I first saw Raviji live in 1999. I couldn't believe I was actually in the same room with a legend! And being there, watching his hands VERY closely and listening to the raag unfold, felt almost like an out-of-body experience. But this music has been a lifetime passion for me, so that's my "standard" reaction.

Rohit
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 07:35 p.m.


wow,

now this is looooooooonnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg thread. 4 pages!! well I just wanna say that even though vilayet khansahib wasn't as commercial as Pt. Shankar, he played far better. Maybe that's just because i like his style better, but whatever, actually even in Ravi's own style (not a mix of gayaki-ang and tantra, only tantra-ang) Pt. Nikhil Banerjee was far better. That doesn't mean Ravi isn't good, just that he isn't the BEST. I think his entire popularity came from how he could market himself and his skill.


Btw - if i said anything wrong with the sitar styles, sorry, 'cuz i am not a sitar player, just a fan...


Namaste,
Rohit
Russ
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 07:44 p.m.


No problem.
Yeah, if this tread gets any bigger, its going to explode! I can see another one coming, gayaki ang vs tantra ang, or Ravi vs Nikhil. But those are for new threads. OK all, time to end this one?
Jeff
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 10:39 p.m.


BAH BOOM!!!
Lars
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Jul 16, 2003 11:16 p.m.


Before we end this, just have to say that Nikhil Banerjee was the best player I've ever seen. Absolutely mesmerizing...hard to really say "He's the best, etc." because they all have their particular talents, it's just that this concert made the biggest impression on me...NB got me started on this journey.
Also I now know another 'Banerjee' who's quite good
Lars
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 11, 2003 12:08 p.m.



Russ (Jul 16, 2003 02:18 p.m.):
That's actually Ust. Khan, but I doubt Pt. would bother him. Means about the same.

This is such a longgggg topic, and I hate to revive it, and this is actually sort-of off topic, but this was something I meant to ask about before, and forgot all about.

I have a problem with these titles of respect: Pandit, Ustad, and Guru.

Here's my take, from what I can understand:

"Pandit" is a title of respect similar to "Sir", or perhaps "Honorable". It does not necessarily pertain to teaching, or even music and art, as in Pandit Nehru.

"Ustad" means teacher or instructor.

"Guru" means more like revered teacher, a master teacher, or spiritual teacher. However, it appears that the term "guru" is more between the student and his/her teacher, otherwise the teacher is usually called Ustad.

Soooo, who decides if a teacher should be called "Ustad" or "Pandit", or even Guru? And given Pt. Ravi Shankar's contribution to bringing ICM to the West, as well as his teaching so many (and continuing to do so), no matter one's opinion of his abilities, why isn't he called Ustad Ravi Shankar? Or do I misunderstand??


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
remco
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 11, 2003 12:26 p.m.


Hi,

Ustad is a muslim title
Pandit is a hindu title

The relation between teacher-student:
for hindi: guru/sishya
for muslim: ustad/shahgird

Peace,

Remco

K.K.
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 11, 2003 01:22 p.m.


By the same token...
Sometimes we add "ji" to the end of our names in fun, but it's probably not a good idea to take it outside this forum. It wouldn't be quite as insulting as calling ourselves Pandit or Ustad but it's still not to be used casually.
An example, my friend Kenji (he's Japanese, that's his real name) told me that in India some people are hesitant to call him by his name because of this
Billy
Re:Using a chromatic tuner for sitar Sep 11, 2003 02:35 p.m.



remco (Sep 11, 2003 12:26 p.m.):
Ustad is a muslim title
Pandit is a hindu title
Remco

Thanks, that explains it. In fact, I wondered if it did have something to do with Muslims, since the Khans are Muslim.

As for adding -ji to a name, I actually wenched when someone called RS:: Raviji. I suspect his family and close friends, and perhaps his students, could do so.

Along those lines, here's a question: I've read a bit about Gandhi, even wrote a thesis on him way back in college. I don't ever recall him referred to as Pandit Gandhi, but often as Gandhiji or even Babu (which were also well used in the movie about him.) Why is that? In fact, in many respects, Guru might have been appropriate.

If my questions seem asinine or disrespectful, my apologies. I work with a lot of people from India, but I'm not comfortable asking them these kind of questions.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
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