INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Tarabs

 

Author Message
Mike
Tarabs Jan 30, 2003 10:10 p.m.


Hey guys- I think I'm gonna change my name whenever I ask questions so I don't come off as annoying..lol

I do have a question though. I figure if I'm gonna learn the basics of sitar without a teacher I might as well come here and ask away! Anyways, back to business. I tune my tarabs to the Shankar notes in C or C#. But, whenever I start a thaat, or the first run through of a raga lesson, I don't get that "magical" cascade sound that is so prevalent in guys like Banerjee and Shankar's music. Why is that? Do you guys know of any alternate tuning methods to help bring the sound of the tarabs out more, sound better?

Thanks guys
Mike

Bob
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 03:35 p.m.


I may not be the most qualified person to answer your question, but ... The tarabs are supposed to be tuned to the scale of the raga you are playing. In other words, you will need to tune each of them to a different note. Check out the on-line sitar tutorial at Buckingham music for more info on tarabs. If this doesn't seem like the answer you needed, let us know.
Remco
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 04:13 p.m.


Hi Mike,
You need to be tuned VERY precisly! Otherwise your played notes won't "trigger" the tarabstrings. (check it by slightly pulling the string that's "off" to the right pitch and you'll hear the note come alive).

Peace,

Remco

K.K.
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 05:19 p.m.


One thing you might consider is your technique. I had this problem until it was brought to my attention - Even if the tarbs are in tune, you may be slightly pulling, or putting too much pressure on the string as you fret, causing it to go sharp.
Mike
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 07:02 p.m.


Yeah I noticed that the tarabs really do need to be tuned very precisely otherwise they won't ring out sympathetically.

let me see if I'm understanding correctly.
Lets say I was gonna play the raga Chandani Kedar in the thaat of Kalyan. I would tune all the tarabs strictly to the notes in this particular thaat?

Mike

Russ
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 11:29 p.m.


Mike, can't help but wonder if you're sure about what a thaat is. Its just a scale.

This is my understanding of how it is used. The Kalyan "scale" is essentially the major scale except use F# (tivra ma) instead of F natural. This is for the older standard tuning, using C natural as your tonic or base. You would have to transpose if your base is some other note.

So, starting from the low note, your first tarab C natural (sa), 2nd is B#, 3rd is C, 4th is D#, 5th is E, 6th is F#, 7th is G, and so on up to high C (sa). Of course, some notes will be doubled since your have more than 8 tarabs! The ones that are typically doubled are what's called the vadi (most dominant note of the rag) and the samvadi (2nd most dominant note). That will give you tuning for a sitar with 12 tarabs, like mine. For a 13 stringer, the final high note is the high D (re, in this example tuning).

By all means, check out the FAQ on the Buckingham site. It does have a good basic explaination on tuning, much better than mine.

Mike
Re:Tarabs Feb 03, 2003 11:49 p.m.


I apologize for my ignorance. I had no way of knowing, and yes a thaat is a scale in the Indian system.
I've read Buckingham's stuff and talked to John on the phone, however not much help has been gotten from them. Oh well.

Mike

Lars
Re:Tarabs Feb 04, 2003 12:19 a.m.


Hi Mike,
That's basically it, only you have more tarabs than notes usually. But there are a zillion different ways to tune them. Follow the notes in the thaat or scale. You can double up the strings on the vadi or main note, whatever....or you can double up on your weakest tarab sounding note, all sitars it seems ring better on some notes than others. Usually, for lets say a major scale I would tune mine this way, starting from low to high:
CBCDEEFGABCDE
You could follow that same pattern only change the appropriate notes according to the raga. You could double up on PA (G) instead of GA (E), or both and skip high E, and so on....
If you have a student model sitar, you may not want to go past high C so to avoid stress on the neck or breaking the strings......
Hope this helps?

Lars
www.sitarsetc.com
(that was a shameless plug)

Russ
Re:Tarabs Feb 04, 2003 01:14 a.m.


Hi Mike;
Believe me, appology is not necessary! Didn't mean to put you on any spot. We are all in a learning process here. There are apparently numerous ways to tune these things. My example is a very old standard, but the example Lars gives will also work just fine.

You got a good site going there, Lars! Best one I've seen in a long time. I wish you well.

Mike
Re:Tarabs Feb 04, 2003 01:29 a.m.


Thanks guys. I just didn't want anyone getting frustrated with me.lol. I realize that I ask alot of questions. Its just that 6 years in western theory and all of a sudden it doesn't really matter anymore could throw a person off. I've really only seriously started my sitar pursuits in November. So I'm a youngblood. Thanks all for being patient.

Mike

Remco
Re:Tarabs Feb 04, 2003 06:56 a.m.


Hi guys,
Just got my sitar back from repair, and lost my way of tuning the tarabstrings. I gave my teacher a call and she told me to tune it the following way:
nssrgmm'pdns. Since I'm only working with Ragas Bilaval and Yaman she gave me the advice to tune m and m' so both notes would be available.

Peace,

Remco

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