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Re:Shruti, Drones, Tanpura

I had the opportunity to accompany Pdt. Samir Chatterjee (tabla) & Steve
Gorn (bansuri) on tampura
and I must say it's not an easy instrument to play.  You'd think "no 
only 4 strings, no fretting - just pluck , pluck , pluck"


1st, the attack is not supposed to be noticeable so you have to kind of
the strings with the tip of your fingers to gently start the string

One slip and you either mute a string leaving a gaping hole in the drone
or make a loud twang - causing the soloist & the audience to glare in your

2nd, you're not supposed to play in time with the music - just start at a
that will keep the drone nice & full and forget about the groove. 
!@#$%^ hard when the time kicks in and the tempo gradually increases.

3rd, all of this goes on for like 40 - 60 minutes, a large part of which is
just you and the soloist.

I left that gig with a profound respect for the instrument.