INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Meend exercises

 

Author Message
Delta
Meend exercises May 12, 2003 05:50 a.m.


After several years of dreams, finally I was able to buy a Sitar in Varanasi last month. Now, I am living in Italy where this instrument and India Music are not so common.
In the meantime I am looking for a teacher (it is not so easy), I am studying from books and videos bougth both in India and from Internet. They are very basic but they are for me the only starting point to learn to play this wonderful instrument.

I am now looking for meend exercise. In the material I have there is no particular explanation on this technics that I consider is one of the most important things to learn in playing Sitar.

Does anybody knows about books, videos or any kind of reference that I can use to learn about meend?

Any suggestion is welcomed. Thanks a lot. Delta.

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 12, 2003 01:40 p.m.


Understand your situation. Falls under the heading of "what now"?

The obvious advice is to really try and find a teacher. You can talk about meends all day, but if you can't see and hear it demonstrated, along with immediate feedback of whether you're doing it right or not, books or video don't help that much. Like I've said before on the Forum, there is an immediate need for somebody with the resources to produce a good video series for basic sitar, including how to produce gamaka (ornamentations including meends, krintan, etc.). I would buy it! But, try to get your hands on Ravi Shankar's original biography "My Music My Life". It has an understandable series of meend exercises in the appendix. Good luck!

RH
Re:Meend exercises May 12, 2003 03:14 p.m.


check these out:

http://digilander.libero.it/musicaindiana/index.htm

http://home.attbi.com/~rharrington/media/pdfs/exercises.pdf

RH

Jerry
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 02:23 a.m.


RH

That PDF file is really good. Thanks for posting the link. What book does it come from?

Jerry

Delta
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 05:26 a.m.


Russ,
I agree with you. Sitar is not my first instrument. I play mandolin from more than 20 years and I was lucky to meet people like David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Sam Bush, ... and to play with some of them. I can assure that one day spent with a good player or a good teacher is better than an entire book.
I agree also that a good video series for Sitar is lacking. Maybe one of the reason is that East culture approach in a different way (spirit) the music, without taking to much in care about technicalities (mind). Something that is fully prensent in our West music instead and where the technicalities play an important role.
Maybe if it is true that the East is moving to the West, we should have our video series in a short time frame.

RH
Thanks a lot for refereces. Assisi is not close to Milan for a weekly teaching, but I will keep in contact to follow some seminar.
Great the PDF!. Which is the title of the book?

Delta

Stephen
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 07:58 a.m.


Delete all of the stuff in the address after "rharrington" to see that it is his Sarod website. The two other .pdfs are of value too. It appears to be from a textbook from Ali Akbar Khan's school in California.
Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 11:56 a.m.


Yes, that PDF file shows a good basic workout for both hands. Works to develop laya too. And yes it is from AACM. Someone posted some PDF files on the forum late last year that are actually followups to this one, dealing with sargam I think.

I have the opinion that one of the reasons why comprehensive videos have not been done is because this music was meant to be taught one-on-one, guru to shisya. A video is cold and impassionate, too academic perhaps. It lacks the capability to transmit the passion and human interaction that a teaching environment naturally has. Perhaps the basics could be done on video, but with the learning of all the components of raga live with a teacher. That would work.

Neal
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 11:58 a.m.


http://www.sruti.com/nov2k/spotlt.htm

Okay, who is willing to take a chance on this audio-visual CD/book for $30? Sounds basic but good. I am assuming it is a CD-rom? Any thots?


Understand your situation. Falls under the heading of "what now"?

The obvious advice is to really try and find a teacher. You can talk about meends all day, but if you can't see and hear it demonstrated, along with immediate feedback of whether you're doing it right or not, books or video don't help that much. Like I've said before on the Forum, there is an immediate need for somebody with the resources to produce a good video series for basic sitar, including how to produce gamaka (ornamentations including meends, krintan, etc.). I would buy it! But, try to get your hands on Ravi Shankar's original biography "My Music My Life". It has an understandable series of meend exercises in the appendix. Good luck![/quote]

Bob
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 02:21 p.m.


For what it's worth, I had the book out of the library about six months ago. It is well written with much good info, but not very different from a half dozen or more sitar titles that can be found in major libraries around the country. For someone who hasn't looked through one of these books, this is as good as any. It does touch on "unusual" techniques that other books do not -- such as parallel thirds, harmonics, etc. Unfortunately, the copy of the CD that came with it did not work. Perhaps if it did, this book would be a real gem.
Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 02:53 p.m.


Hmmm...I think Lars said a while back he has this book and rom? I don't think he had a technical problem with it....

Another program I might caution everyone about is "Raga", which I bought from Amazon.com last year. Its an interactive CD rom to teach basic raga recognition, using video and several instruments and vocal. Sounded good, but there are fatal flaws in the executable portions of the CD, including the load-up. Never did work. I'm afraid the master CD, cut in India, likely has these bugs too, so all the copies of it are messed up too.

Remco
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 04:22 p.m.


Hi guys!
Concerning the Jaffer Khan-book: it's really nice: very good layout and excellent printwork! (Usually the books from India are printed on crappy paper, but this one is really an exeption). It deals mainly with his his techniques (playing harmonics etc) It also includes several gats. On the other hand it doesn't really include exercises (like Ravi Shankars' book) and that's the stuff you need when you're starting. My teacher studied with one of Ravi Shankars students and I notice several of his exercises popping up when studying with her!! Take it easy on the meends by the way: you'll have to train your hands with these: I'm playing for 1 1/2 year and am just starting with the two note meends. I went a little over the top with practise a couple of months ago and notices you can seriously f&#k up your hands. I really had some problems.

Peace,

Remco

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 13, 2003 06:28 p.m.


That's good advice Remco. With my first week of lessons, my teacher had me doing 5 note meends combined with andolan by the end of the 3rd day. I mean really pulling the string to the edge of the neck and holding. My fingers tips were really hurting, very close to bleeding by the 5th day. But I asked for a "crash course" so no way to avoid it, I guess. I don't think a real beginner should jump into it like that. Paltas and murchanas are good to start with.

Hey Delta, what kind of sitar did you find in Varanasi?

Lars
Re:Meend exercises May 14, 2003 12:15 a.m.


Hi all......
Yes, I have that book and the CD worked well with it too! So I dunno.......it's rather expensive but has a few things that the others don't and is very well done.....
Lars
Delta
Re:Meend exercises May 14, 2003 06:29 a.m.


Russ,
"process" to buy the sitar in Varanasi was quite funny. When you are in India you do not have to await for a traditional shop as we have in Europe or US, especially in Varanasi where I stayed for 1 week.
I went in one of them and I asked for a Sitar. But, because I am not able to play, I asked also for a sitar player too. No problem, they did a ring and in 10 minutes a sitar mishra came. He played for me 4 different sitars. The level of the sitar were quite good (for my beginner understanding) but no ones was good enough for me in term sound, intonation, sustain, precision, balance, � Price were from 4.500 to 9.000 rupias, the best ones. On the other hand the sitarist was incredible!!! he stayed in the shop for all the morning to play for me. I asked for a better one, but due to limited timeframe I was in India was not possible to wait for.
All the sitars they shown me were coming from Kolkata (they told me that are the best), there were no name or sign belonging to the company/people that made it.
After shop, the mishra invited me at his home and to know his family. He show me a sitar ordered from Kolkata for one of his student. After insisting a lot he decided to sell to me.
All the �process� took 2 days with a lot of funny thinks happened. One of them was, I do not know how, that I entered at the home of Pandit Shivanath Mishra where there were sitar students and tabla player playing and studying. Pandit Shivanath Mishra and his son in a very simple way did a little concert for me and my friends for a half an hours, �. Fantastic!

In summary, the sitar I bought come form Kolkata, has 13 tarab, a very good sound and balance, I am new in this kind of instruments but I think that for starting is good enough for me a give me a lot of �space� to learn in order to reach its limits (that at the moment I am not able to understand).

Just one question. I am trying to find out Ravi Shankar's book you suggested "My Music, My Life". Every site show me that is out of print. Any suggestion to find out?

Thanks, Delta.

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 14, 2003 11:50 a.m.


Delta;
Lars is a big fan of Pandit Misra and his son. They seem to love to play anytime, anywhere. I'm envious of your experience to have professional help in selection, and have somebody play them for you. An excetionally rare thing here! Kolkata has become the center for sitar-luthiers, but there are also good ones made in Benares (Varanasi) and the rare one found in Mumbai.

There are only a few places I found that are selling a good recent reprint of the original book by Ravi. There is an organization and store in New York called Chandayan that offers the book for around US$22.00, run by a tablaya named Annada (played tabla for Ravi in a few concerts). You can order over the net, but their store was only two blocks away from the world trade towers that were destroyed, and I think their server was damaged. I have tried to bring up their site, but have had difficulty. Its at http://annadhha@ix.netcom.com . You might give it a shot sometime. Sorry, I have lost their phone number.

Delta
Re:Meend exercises May 14, 2003 12:18 p.m.


Russ,
thanks for the url, I appreciate your help. In the meantime I found a couple of sites: http://www.alibris.com where is it possible to buy a used copy (Sob! it cost the double) and http://users.erols.com/nataraj where it seems is on catalogue. I am checking with them the availability.

Experience I had in Varanasi was really great!. I think that it is easy for everybody who goes there to have the same experience.
Delta

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 14, 2003 01:23 p.m.


Took a look thru alibris. $48 for a used copy of Ravi's book is far too much! You could do much better than that simply searching Ebay. I have seen that book advertised now and then for around $12 used.

But I did see another hard to find book on alibris that is good. Its "Techniques of Sitar" by Sandyopyay Bandyopadhyaya. He is an acharya (academician), who has specialized in sitar. I think he is quite old now, but he was a senior student of Ustad Alludhin Khan long ago. The original work was done in Hindi but has been translated into english here. The book is not cheap at $60 plus, but its the best reference I have found. Many exercises and gats are in here. If you take it slow, this may be good for you.

Lars
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 01:44 a.m.


Delta,
The Mishras are great people! Glad you got to meet them........if you want to hear a little of their music, I have a sound file on my website....you'll find both Pandit (Guruji) Mishra and Deobrat there under the musicians link......
Lars
http://sitarsetc.com
DIVANA
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 02:17 a.m.



RH (May 12, 2003 03:14 p.m.):
check these out:

http://digilander.libero.it/musicaindiana/index.htm

http://home.attbi.com/~rharrington/media/pdfs/exercises.pdf

RH


What next. Yes our tradition and our music requires a guru.but where to find this rare comodity?Again Amrica is a very large country and how many gurus are needed?now do you stop learning because we hav't a teacher?No.& therefore a good video is very urgently needed.I am trying to convince one of the most famous sitar artist and teacher to make some videos or dvd.I do not know if he will agree because of his very heavy shedule.But if we are fortunate of him beeing agreed, we can raise some funds to meet the expences for this valuable production and this wil be a great service to our music ,our aret and culture. A request has been made and let us hope for the best.

jan
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 03:32 a.m.


Delta!
I know for a fact that you could be able to find a teacher in Italy. My teacher lives there and for sure there are more than just him around. He has been a student of Shivanat Mishras for many years. He lives in Molini Di Triora, thats in the north west, close to the french border. They run a spiritual senter there dedicated to Babaji and open to all.
When i talk to him sooner or later ill ask if he knows about someone else...

When it comes to the video bit, send somone to me, and i�ll do the video : ) it in my line of work.

jan
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 03:34 a.m.


to all non dyslectics out there, never mind the spelling !!
Delta
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 08:10 a.m.


Hey, this forum is great! Thanks to everybody for your suggestions.
Russ,
I will follow you suggestion and I will acquire the book!
Lars,
maybe you are the people who help me to close the order at your site solving the Credit Card issue. Nice to meet here again.
Jan,
Please, if you can, keep me update.

Delta

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 15, 2003 01:58 p.m.


Delta, there are other sitar forums and newgroups, but I think this is the most interactive one. I've learned a lot here, met a few people, and perhaps pointed a few in a productive direction.

Jan, I think one reason why its hard to get a musician to sit down and do a video is because they are so very busy setting up venues, traveling all over, and doing their music. That is their life. Don't have the time to make videos.

Another important issue is marketing. Lots of upfront production money and time spent. Will enough buy it to make it worthwhile? This would target a specialized and limited market. Can be perceived as risky. It would be up to all of us who don't have access to full-time teachers to support (money commitment) a video production like this.

Delta
Re:Meend exercises May 16, 2003 05:27 a.m.


Jan,
Create a good, and let me say, professional video series on Sitar coupled with a set of books/manuals require a lot of things: money, time, organization, equipments, people � and last but not least an Indian Mishra that is the key point to create and to structure scope and content. That means to create a Project, understand the return on investment and so on. In my understanding, as I faced to this music and to this instrument, this series is something lacking. I believe that Internet could enable us to create a �virtual� project and a �virtual� team to make this production a reality but, as Russ says, need money and strong commitment from everybody in order do not waste time and/or money. I am open to discuss about it.
Delta.

PS: spell checked, not sure about grammar

Remco
Re:Meend exercises May 16, 2003 06:11 a.m.


I'm curious how the Jaffer Khan book was financed. As I said earlier the book is well put together, so obviously someone had the finance to pull that off. And it's aimed at the same market being discussed here......

Peace,

Remco

Russ
Re:Meend exercises May 16, 2003 11:31 a.m.


You know, I've always heard Ravi Shankar say that his driving mission in life is to spread ICM worldwide. His international Foundation appears to be well-off financially, and could help finance a number of projects (including the Jaffer Khan works). Can you imagine a sitar basic techniques video learning series done by the master himself? Raviji is very articulate, and knowledgeable in both ICM and western classical. Wonder how he would feel about a project like that? I guarantee that series would sell! Ah well, nice to dream....
jan
Re:Meend exercises May 16, 2003 07:24 p.m.


Delta, Russ and all!

It happens to be so that i work for a commercial tv station in Norway. I have full access to whatever i would need for a production. Studio with full light rig, camera crew, sound and everything else needed to pull of the practical part of souch an project. Beeing so that i have inside knowledge of the prosses of video and tv production i allso know that it can be pulled of, just about anywhere, if i have a crew of 2 people its possible to get a really nice broadcast quality production done within a reasonable budget.

then again, somone must play the instrument and there need to be some directions to the productions itself. Here in Bergen Norway, where i live, there is a lack of internatonal leveled sitar masters. the last one to drop by was Roop Verma. ( NICE : D )

anyway, talk is talk and its fun as long as it lasts. But action is a different aspect and it has a solid link to reality.
I would think that the mere value as a preserver of cultural identety a project like this can get support from many holds ($)

is there any idea of how a good introduction level video with different sessions and focus on one raga would price itself in the marked? As a DVD or as a downloade able divx, mpeg or avi file from a ftp.

I have many ideas of how to make a really flexible production for different medias, that would benefit the user due to its flexibility.


well, thats my bit of the talk

jan

i allways get a server error when i try to spellchack the text : )

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