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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Play the Sitar : Using Tanpuras for Accompaniment

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You must be wondering what this sound is. This is an electronic Tanpura. In Indian there

isnt harmony per se but there is something called a drone which is the tonic and dominant

notes playing over and over giving a sonic foundation to a melody played over that. And,

a Tanpura is an essential sound in Indian music and often it is part of a sound scape

in movies about India and stuff like that. And, since about the mid-80s these wonderful

things have been around and they are getting more and more common as people travel more

and it becomes necessary to make your luggage lighter and so on. And also when you go to

a place where you cant find a Tanpura player you just whip out your box so you dont

have to tune it you just turn it on and set it to the Sah that you need and there you

go and youve got it the whole time. This is a Tanpura and this particular Tanpura is

whats called an instrumental Tanpura. It is one used to accompany an instrument. So

a Tanpura player who would be accompanying a Sitar or Sarod or other instrument they

would be playing, it doesnt necessarily have to look like this but it might have a

set up of strings like this. So the hardest thing about playing Tanpura is really tuning

it. You just sit here and strum it; you dont have to stop the strings in different places

or anything you just have to sit and provide this wash. So this in particular makes it

much easier for us to tune this instrument because we are always referring to the Sah.

This is what you are hearing and you need to match it. And then you have to have a good

relative sense of pitch so that you know whats a Mah or Sah. Good old things that you learn

in ear training in any kind of music program. But anyway this will always tell you where

your Sah is and it will remind you if you are out of tune.

The Description of How to Play the Sitar : Using Tanpuras for Accompaniment