CD Journal Magagine coloum (September, 2001)
"House of Sound" No.22 Instrument: Sitar
I don't know about the people who likes Indian traditional music, but if you say sitar, most of the people like me (about elder than age 35) will automatically remind the name 'Ravi Shankar'. He was famous for the guru of George Harison, and he is the god of Indian Music.
Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh who was taught by that god, is performing music activities all over the world, putting his center in Tokyo. He is really a master grade sitar player.
"This instrument was ordered by my guru Ravi Shankar's wife for me. The body is made from pumpkin and the neck is made from big trees called SAGU which were brought up in Kashmir district. KADDU is also made from pumpkin.
There are 7 main strings and 11-13 sub-strings which stays very close to the neck. All the strings are made by copper and iron. The bridges aimed tense strings are made from bones of elephants, deers or camels. They also have a role to decorate the instrument.
Basically sitar is played by fingers. (For that reason, it is hard and painful to play for the first time, and the finger-toes of veteran players are hard like stones.)
And we put MIZRAB on a right forefinger to make distinct impact for sound.
Do you ask me how much? Because they are hand-made, one is completely different from one another. But absolutely different from those in souvenier shops!"
It seemed to be difficult to master how to play, but a player needs to master 'Raga' which is appeared in the combination of melody and rhythm. And also it is nessesary to add one's originality and ad-lib technique. "There are 100 or more only in rhythm patterns (Tara)." , he said.
"The main scale used in these days are : basically one is F, and another is C scale. We play sitar on the base scale, and Raga is cross coming into it;
such as mornig Raga, sunrise Raga, or sunset Raga, changing in every 3 hours.
Sitar playing should be the reflection of Natural Flow or the Law of Nature. So that every sitar players are the ones who is facing to the Nature=God, and who is praying to God continuously during one's play."
Now I got to understand that sitar playing is not like the play by an excitable sharman playing according to his feeling. "But I wil say that not all is decided strictly. Sitar is the instrument that you can bring a free style and create new music. It has an unique sound so that it is easy to have oppotunities to join with other folk instruments in all over the world. In Japan, I joind with Taiko, Shakuhachi, or Shamisen. And in Australia, I joined with Big Band. Isn't it a real culture exchange?"
written by Mr. Atsushi Yamao