INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Number of frets...


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Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 06:25 a.m.

I was wondering if there is any particular reason that there isn't a permanently mounted fret for komal re and komal dha. From what I can tell on some of the other fretted instruments, mainly veenas, frets are located for all note positions, komal, tivra and shuddha. I don't mind moving the things around for, say, a Todi, but have never heard the reasoning for the lack of these two frets.
Re:Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 02:47 p.m.

Whats a todi, ive seen them everywhere Mishra todi..,. so on. Is it just a solo?
Re:Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 05:08 p.m.

I'd like to know what the reason for the missing frets is myself...
I guess if someone wanted to, it wouldn't be too much trouble to buy some and add them in.
Re:Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 05:22 p.m.

I think the number of frets is a recent development.......used to be 17 only I think. Debu Chaudhuri still only uses that number, had to do with requiring more meend to be used to keep in the tradition of the instrument being an imitator of the human voice I think....
Todi is a Raag BTW.....

Re:Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 06:11 p.m.

A Todi is like a Frogi, just uglier!
Sorry, couldn't stop myself....
Re:Number of frets... Jul 12, 2002 07:14 p.m.

One of the things I found about adding frets, is on the less expensive ones, the notes are off, which has something to do with warpage around
the area near the body & neck joint. The better quility of sitar, The better chance you have of adding frets which will provide the note your looking for.I've made frets out of brass rods , I've measured the diameter of the fret on the sitar, then I bent the rod to the fret shape, the cut it sawed my groove & tied it on with fishing line which worked very well. Have a good one all...............sitarsrule
Re:Number of frets... Jul 15, 2002 10:48 a.m.

theMonk (Jul 12, 2002 02:47 p.m.):
Whats a todi, ive seen them everywhere Mishra todi..,. so on. Is it just a solo?

Todi is one of the ten thaats that Bhatkande recognized. It can also be a raga, whereas Shudda Todi (I refer to this particular raga as Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar's rendition [Live in Seattle] is my all time favorite) would be the base raga and all of the variations would stem from this. Perhaps someone else might add any additional uses of the word Todi that differ from my understanding.

Re:Number of frets... Sep 05, 2002 12:52 p.m.

Manilal Nag has a komal re fret. Indrajit informed me that the higher end Managals have the frets set, removed, and then packaged with the instrument. Some sitar players believe that the additional frets makes playing more difficult - (1) because the gaps are cues (2) fast sapaat (straight up/down) taans are hindered. I am not totally convinced that these explanations are accurate. No player (professional) I know of has started their training will all the frets. So explanation #1 goes down the drain. Also different colors of fret strings can provide the cues. (2) is more difficult to prove/disprove.

Most makers can easily accommodate the two additional frets - make sure that they are set/tested by playing meed and ensuring that the string does not touch the re/dha frets...

Re:Number of frets... Sep 05, 2002 03:07 p.m.

Agreed that too many frets can cause problems. Like most, I count on those big gaps to be able to ghasit from sa to high sa quickly and not misjudge position. More frets would eliminate the fret gaps. Plus, I sometimes have trouble in moving my frets because the pegs are in the way of my threads. More frets would exacerbate the problem.
Re:Number of frets... Sep 06, 2002 12:48 p.m.

I seem to remember hearing somewhere (maybe even this forum) that the smaller number of frets was originally intended to differentiate the sitar from the vina and to show off its meend capabilities.
Re:Number of frets... Sep 06, 2002 03:14 p.m.

Hey Bob;
Yeah, I think that was from Lars. The common use of more than 19 frets didn't start until maybe the late 50's. Even now, you can still buy 19-fret sitars if you want to. Actually, you can play meend on a veena, but its harder to do and doesn't sound as smooth as a sitar. (Talking about a sarawati or mohan veena that is. Doesn't apply to a rudra veena or other like that.)
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