If you are a lover of Indian musical instrument then you should learn sitar as sitar, a musical instrument that occupies a place of pride and great importance in the music field one of the most melodious and charming instruments used in Hindustani music and Indian classical music. Justas its melodious sound it also looks very beautiful. Derived from the instrument Veena, which is believed to be modified in the Mughal courts to suit the taste of the Mughal patrons. It got its namefrom a Persian instrument called sitar meaning three strings. Sitar did well in the 16th and 17th centuries.
A sitar can have around 18 to 21 strings. Six or seven are played and they run over curved raised fret sand the remaining are called Sympathetic strings. They run under the frets. The frets are movable which allow tuning. The played strings do run into pegs near the head of the instrument while sympathetic strings are of different lengths. They pass through small holes in the fret and engage with the smaller tuning pegs, which run down the neck of the instrument. Sitars are generally made from teak wood or tun wood (a variety of mahogany for the neck and face plate and gourds for the resonating chamber). The deer horn ebony or very occasionally camel bone is also used. These days synthetic material is also commonly used.
The 2 popular styles of sitar:
Popular and modern style offered in sub styles and a little decorative pattern too.
• Two popular ones are gayaki style sitars (also called Vilayat Ali Khan style sitars) whereas the nicely decorated instrumental style is called Ravi Shankar style sitars.
• Gayaki ones are of seasoned wood mostly devoid of decorations just has a dark polish. Inlay decorations are of imitation mother pearl. Strings are generally 11 but can to extended to 13 as well.
The instrumental style is made of seasoned toon wood but often made of Burma teak also. This is usually much decorated with floral or grape wine carvings. It has 13 strings. Instrument builders look for Burma teak as it is said that one of the best Sitars are made from that teak. The sources of old seasoned wood is often a very highly guarded issue and could also be mystery.
Amongst all the styles of sitars we also have styles for students like Beginner models, Semi-pro styles, Pro models, Master models and so on. The manufacturers name plays a roll in deciding a price and its not just looks alone or material used. Rikhi Ram (Delhi) and older Hiren Roy (Kolkata) are the most notable manufacturers.
Sitar also saw use in the popular western music when guided by David Crosby’s Championing of Shankar. Sitar earned popularity in the western world when Beatles George Harrison learnt to play from Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and he later used Sitar into several Beatles songs.