Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Sitar and the esteemed sitarist, Ravi Shankar

The sitar (Hindi: सितार, Urdu: ستار, Persian: سی تار ) is a plucked stringed instrument, says Wikipedia. It uses sympathetic strings along with a long hollow neck and a gourd resonating chamber to produce a very rich sound with complex harmonic resonance.

Predominantly used in Hindustani classical, sitar has been ubiquitous in Hindustani classical music since the Middle Ages.

A distinctive feature of the sitar is the curved frets, which are movable, allowing fine variation in tuning, and raised so that sympathetic strings can run underneath the frets. A typical sitar, depending on the style, can have 21, 22 or 23 strings. Among these strings are six or seven playable strings, which are situated over the frets.

Pandit Ravi Shankar (born April 7, 1920) is a Bengali Indian sitar player and composer.

He has been a longtime musical collaborator of tabla-players Ustad Allah Rakha, Kishen Maharaj and intermittently also of sarod-player Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. His collaborations with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, film maker Satyajit Ray, and The Beatles (in particular, George Harrison) added to his international reputation.

He has received many awards throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards and an Academy Award nomination.

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