INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Cannot figure this out


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Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 12:35 a.m.

I just started sitar a couple weeks ago. I'm a musician of practically my whole life (I'm only 15 though) Anyways, I have a pretty good understanding of Western music. I thought I was ready for sitars, and maybe I am. Anyways, I cannot figure out this Indian music theory. I ponder over it but I find myself drifting back into regular western scales. I can't read Indian music, I don't know a whole lot at all now that I think about it... So if you guys could teach me ANYTHING about sitar music I'd like to know.
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 02:19 a.m.

I suggest you get a sitar teacher, thats the best way to learn. But yo could also get some books on indian music, its actually not that hard you just have to stop thinking in wester terms, don't expect to learn it in a few weeks, it takes time and patience, but remember you have many a year still ahead of you, your only fifteen you have time to learn. Patience, and Practice
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 12:02 p.m.

Very good advice. These days, there are plenty of good websites such as Buckingham's and others that give readable explainations. In addition, I would advise you to listen to Indian music as much as possible, and not so much to western. That way, you can begin to develop your musical "ear" for Indian melody. I find its not really all that different. Just takes time getting used to. And time is on your side at 15!
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 12:48 p.m.

Hi Mike: Welcome to the fascinating world of Indian Classical Music. Ahh, Grasshoppa�, you are blessed, you have picked up this instrument at just the right time! As Anahd and Russ stated, be patient, you have your whole life ahead of you to study this wonderful music. Have fun with it! In a sense it�s just like learning another language - you wouldn�t expect to be speaking Hindi after just a couple of weeks, would you? Do whatever you can to find a teacher. In the mean time, get all the books & CDs you can afford, just search the Sitar Forum�s archives, you�ll find the titles and where to buy them. Like yourself, I�ve been playing music most of my life (I�m 4 and I just STARTED studying sitar this year. If you keep studying, and �practice, practice, practice,� you could be a master musician WAY before you reach my age!!! - K.K.
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 12:50 p.m.

That was suppose to be 48, not 4 Sheesh - K.K.
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 02:58 p.m.

Tjeez... Old geezers-club here!!!...I started last year and am 38!!
I realize this is an instrument that will take years (YEARS) to master. I mean: buy a guitar and join a punk band after 3 months and you could sound decend, but a sitar.......
I've been taking lessons for a year now and we started my first raga a month ago, before that only exercises....
But what I love is there is "A Method" behind it, one that has been around for centuries, and I feel very lucky to have a great teacher.
My advice: find a teacher and just don't give up!!!



Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 05:57 p.m.

Well, yeah I guess you're right. I've been researching sitar and its theory LONG before I ever bought one. About 7 or 8 months in advance. I have a book by Pandit something Sharma lol... and I have "The Sitar:The Instrument and Its Technique" by Manfred Junius. I live in Alaska, and I don't know too many Alaskan sitar players lol, much less a sitar tutor. Both of the major universities don't have a clue as to whether there's an Indian appreciation society.They couldn't find me a teacher. So if thats the situation, which for me it is, what do you suggest? Should I call the good folks at buckingham music everyday and ask for over the phone lessons? lol I don't think they'd dig that too much.

Well I am in a predicament, aren't I?

Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 06:33 p.m.

I,ve been Playing since 1991, & it is one of those life changing things, only wish I had a teacher when I was 8 teaching me, but oh well just keep playing.........Peace
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 06:55 p.m.

Just had to laugh. Sounds like we're all peas out of the same pod. KK and I are the same age, old geezers. I first picked up a sitar at 16 after learning guitar at 14. So, you're in the ballpark with us. And I'm just now taking lessons, for reals anyway. Plus I live in New Mexico. Not too many New Mexicans....or old Mexicans for that matter playing sitar 'round here either. Mike, you may have to travel to Vancouver for lessons, just like I have to travel to mid-Texas 800 miles away. That's a drag, but that's a choice you may have to make if you live in "Sitar Siberia" like most of us.
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 07:48 p.m.

Hi Mike: ALASKA!! Oh Maaaan! Well, as my mammy use to say, �Where there�s a will, there�s a way.� Ditto on Russ' advise. Assuming you�re still living with your parent(s) I would find the closest sitar teacher/instructor/guru, and save, beg, borrow, (don�t steal) enough money for a plane/bus/train ticket and take a little trip. Make arrangements with him/her to spend as much time together as you can afford. Record, or preferably videotape the lessons. Receiving lessons one-on-one, you�ll be starting your sitar studies with at least the proper technique. My personal opinion (I�m just a novice, mind you) is that it�s impossible to pick up proper technique from just watching performance, or even instructional, videos. Even if you can only afford to spend one day with a QUALIFIED teacher, the knowledge that you will take home with you will save you countless hours �un-learning� improper technique that you might learn on your own. I�ve experienced this first hand � I play drums, and there was a point when I couldn�t improve on my speed. I attended a master drum class at a local music college here in Hollywierd and, after consulting with one of the instructors, it was brought to my attention that I was holding my sticks wrong!! My elementary school band teacher, God rest his sole, had taught me (and who knows how many others) an improper grip. It took me a year for my muscles to �forget� this bad habit.
Of course later, when you�re on your own, you can move to a city where you�ll be able to study with a master. Wow, what an adventure! � K.K.
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 08:22 p.m.

Hi Mike,
I'm down here in Seattle if you're ever down this way......closer than the rest of the guys, I can get you going in the right direction.....


Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 08:54 p.m.

I'm suprised to hear that you went for drumming, to sitar. you should of played tablas, that way I'd have a tabla player near by(ha ha) like i'd have time to jam..............peace
Re:Cannot figure this out Sep 30, 2002 11:37 p.m.

Thanks guys for all the input. Thanks Lars, I'll remember that. I've got a friend that works in the airlines so maybe she could hook me up with a free ticket. One direct question though. When playing Sa on the melody string, do you always drone with the Sa string and chikaris? Thanks guys.


Re:Cannot figure this out Oct 01, 2002 10:10 a.m.

Hmmmm...... The first instrument I learned was drums at age 11. Drove the neighbors nuts at night. My parents used to get phone calls around 10:30, neighbors telling them to shut that boy up. Bummer! Sold my set at 14 and decided to pick up guitar instead. Not that the neighbors got any sleep from that one either, 'specially when I went electric (ha ha).

Mike, the sa drone appears to be a matter of personal playing style. There are sitarists, especially in the Imdadkhani style, that drone that note quite a bit. I don't notice it near as much with the Alludin Khan styles. I don't use it when playing slow, but I do when playing faster. As a student, I wouldn't worry about it one way or the other. Just my opinion here.

Re:Cannot figure this out Oct 01, 2002 11:30 a.m.

Sitarsrule: Actually, I got into ICM through the tablas. I studied with HariHar Rao, in Pasadena, back in the early '80s but got hooked up with a touring R&R band and failed to keep up the tablas. I still have them and plan to get back into it in the near future. Right now I'm just obsessed with this sitar! Wish I could go back 20 years. - K.K.
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