INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Tarabdars

 

Author Message
beenkarji
Tarabdars Aug 05, 2003 05:02 p.m.


Hi, it is interesting to read everyones opinions on tarab strings, and there was a lot of points I think I need to emphasize. The reason you are supposed to to the main strings is simple because you need a reference to tune the tarab strings. You want the tarab strings to match the intonation of your frets, therefor you have to tune from the main strings, otherwise you will not get the ideal amount of resonance and "feedback" from the tarabdars. Also, one thing to watch out for is that people always use the same gauge wire on every tarab string, this really is not a good method, I suggest using somthing thicker than #0 for the first 2 or three strings, otherwise if you just use #0, they are really weak, and actually for some reason, break quicker. Another thing is the beads that the strings pass through, these should be absolutely smooth and highly polished (and I mean buffed, not a varnish). I have noticed a lot of makers neglet this and the string actually can get cut. Also, if your tarab bridge is not on the right spot of the tabli, and is not touching the main bridge is some form, it will not give you the best results. A good trick I learned was to used small pieces of wood, to essentially ground the tarab and the main bridge.

Ted

Billy
Re:Tarabdars Aug 05, 2003 06:42 p.m.


Thanks! You answered or confirmed a lot of my quiries regarding tarbs in that one little post. Very informative!
Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
pb
Re:Tarabdars Aug 08, 2003 10:59 a.m.


thanks Beenkarji! My tarabs sing now! Great tip.
Billy
Re:Tarabdars Aug 08, 2003 11:19 a.m.



beenkarji (Aug 05, 2003 05:02 p.m.):
You want the tarab strings to match the intonation of your frets, therefor you have to tune from the main strings, otherwise you will not get the ideal amount of resonance and "feedback" from the tarabdars. Ted

I'd love to find the "perfect" tuning instructions for tuning the sitar to itself. I've seen seveal versions, but with differences, and I don't know which to trust. I thought there were instructions on this forum, but I just couldn't find them.

Can someone advise me on somewhere on the Internet, or a book with the best description for doing this? I especially am having trouble finding instructions on tuning the tarbs to the mains, although I could probably figure that out.

I want to do Ravi Shankar tuning with Sa=somewhere around C#


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
pb
Re:Tarabdars Aug 08, 2003 02:26 p.m.


Hey Bill,
I'm no expert, but...
what I do is tune the Ma string so that 'Ni is C then Sa will be C#. Or just use your tuner and set the Ma string to 3F#. E.g. tune the longest tarab to Sa. Play Sa (4C#) on the Ma string and make sure it is the same as the longest tarab. Do the same for R G m M P D etc. (Play it on the main string and match it on the appropriate tarab). Is this what you are looking for?

Pb

Billy
Re:Tarabdars Aug 08, 2003 03:21 p.m.



pb (Aug 08, 2003 02:26 p.m.):
Hey Bill,
Is this what you are looking for?
Pb

Yeah, I have to think about it a little, but I think this is what I need to know.

By the way, its Billy with a y

Thanks,


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Tarabdars Aug 08, 2003 05:41 p.m.


Hi BILL,,,,,,,Its Jeffy with a J here,,,,,,,, Oh never mind.
K.K.
Re:Tarabdars Aug 12, 2003 09:28 p.m.


Hi All: Just thought I'd throw in yet another method of tuning the tarbs, which I recently learned.
First let me pass along some news that I heard last night from Kenji, who I called to make sure I wasn't leaving anything out regarding this tuning method.
Kenji had just returned from assisting Guruji at a recording session in Santa Monica. Guruji is in good health (body and spirit), and working on a new project composing music for Gamelan, the traditional music of Bali. Hmm�in-ter-es-ting.

On to the tuning method:

Now this sounds ass-backwards compared to some of the other methods mentioned, but if you think about it, it really makes sense. (Don�t yell at me, this is the way the Shankars do it.)
Note: we're assuming the sitar's strings are up to tension and you are using some source of tuning reference, i.e. digital tuner, etc. (or you�ve got a highly trained ear)

You start by tuning the tarbs first, then the playing strings, ending with the MA string.
Then you adjust the frets to be in tune with the tarbs. In other words, you adjust the frets so that the tarbs ring out when the corresponding note is played.

AJ
Re:Tarabdars Aug 12, 2003 11:58 p.m.


hey KK.......my understanding is that he's only been touring with Ravi the last few tours..........wonder if he's missed something???
It's also my understanding that he's still quite young!!!
Beenkarji
Re:Tarabdars Aug 12, 2003 10:32 p.m.


I have seen Raviji in many concerts and talked to him about different aspects many times afterwards for quite some time. His method is however he feels like it, sometimes he will just change the tarabs mid performance for a new raga, and he doesn't mess with the frets. I have never heard from anyone else that he uses this method either. It makes more sense for the tarabs to match the frets, you move the frets, and they lose their innotation. Also about tuning the main strings, and what reletive western key to tune in, well for starters try Bb, then if it feels loose, go up a step, somwhere between Bb and D on most sitars there will be a point where the tonic is very full, and it makes the tabli vibrate, that is where you want to be, and should the strings be too tight or loose when you find that point of resonance, you could easily just change the string gauges. The upper tumba on a sitar should also do this, however it is not necessary, just give your instrument a much fuller and louder sound.
Russ
Re:Tarabdars Aug 13, 2003 02:22 p.m.


From the few times I've seen Raviji in concert, almost always somebody else tunes his instrument for him nowdays. You have to get the best balance between the strings, frets, and bridge positions.

I think I tried to answer the question last year about how to tell what note your sitar should be tuned to for optimal sound, but I didn't do a good job. This explaination of getting the tabli to vibrate at that frequency is the best explaination so far. At that point, the instrument begins to sing. Just tune with very small increments to find it.

Beenkarji
Re:Tarabdars Aug 13, 2003 03:44 p.m.


Yes, thats the exact thing, you must tune in small incriments, and eventually you will find it, and as I said, you may even end up changing string gauges should you desire. For instance my second sitar was a Bina from the 60s, and it was a nice teak model, and it sang at about B because it was a bit larger, and the tabli was nice and thin, some sitars may even be lower. Once problem they need to fix is if they even take the time to tune the tabli to the rest of the body, and desired pitch, thats what makes an old Hiren Roy, and Kanai Lal so desireable, because those were masterpieces.
K.K.
Re:Tarabdars Aug 13, 2003 08:56 p.m.


Hi All:
First let me say, I�m not trying to say this is the best way to tune a sitar. If you have another method that works for you, then great! I�m just trying to pass along what I feel could be useful info to my fellow Sitar Forum buds.


Beenkarji (Aug 12, 2003 10:32 p.m.):
I have seen Raviji in many concerts and talked to him about different aspects many times afterwards for quite some time. His method is however he feels like it...

I asked Kenj about this. His reply was Guruji (actually most of the time it�s Kenji and/or Anoushka) ALWAYS tune this way, whether it�s before a lesson, or backstage before a concert.

The procedure is as follows:

Using a tuner to get the SA reference note, the tarbs are tuned by ear. (Of course, these folks have highly trained their ears) Then the playing strings are tuned. Then the frets are adjusted (as needed) so the corresponding tarbs ring out.


Beenkarji (Aug 12, 2003 10:32 p.m.):
�It makes more sense for the tarabs to match the frets, you move the frets, and they lose their innotation...

On the contrary - If the tarbs are perfectly in tune to begin with, then adjusting the frets to the tarbs will improve the intonation of the sitar.

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