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Re: Asian instruments

>In response to Matthias' question:
>Primeiro:  Muito obrigado para as boas perguntas (Desculpe,  I just *had* 
>toss in some Portuguese!)

oba! um som diferente na lista! (this is easy for everyone to understand,
isnt it?)

>I'll answer your second question first
>>Do they [Indian musicians] use any electronics exept for straight
>>amplification of their traditional work?
>Currently in North Indian classical music I've not seen anyone use
>electronics in the sense of changing tone color, extending an instrument's
>range, etc.  About the only real use of sound processing is adding
>artificial reverb both to live performances and studio recordings to 
>the overall sound.  Unfortunately this tends only to make things muddier.
>If it's used sparingly it can be a nice effect but more often than not 
>the main instrument (or vocalist) as well as the tabla accompanist are
>drenched in reverb and this winds up ruining the music (for me at least).

I tend to "ruin" my music with long reverb, too. The "drone aspect" of the
reverb may be more important than the clarity of each note?

>I have recently heard a sample of a young Indian classical musician 
>synthesizer.  You can listen to this at http://www.neelam.com  I always
>dreamed about the possibility of synthesizers, midi, etc. within the realm
>of ICM (Indian classical music).  It seemed that if someone had good
>knowledge of the music that almost anything would be possible in terms of
>sound sources.  From the clip I heard, this particular recording seems
>rather one-dimensional as far as texture, etc.  The playing is correct and
>good, but the "piano" sound seems trite.  To be fair, though, I remember
>seeing Sun Ra many times in the early and mid 80's playing entire concerts
>using just one setting (and a cheesy ball-park organ sound at that!) on a
>synthesizer that was the "multivoice" state-of -the-art at the time, and 
>always sounded fantastic.  So it's not just the equipment, it's what the 
>sitting behind it does with it.

Well, the equipment certainly is a limitation, too. Maybe you would not
like the sound any more, today. I would not like to invade the fine indian
sounds with synthesizers...

>Another use of electronics which is becoming extremely widespread is the
>recent invention of "electronic  tanpura" (also spelled tamboura) 
>the traditional string drone instrument.  This has really taken off in the
>last ten years where almost every performer I've seen recently - vocal or
>instrumental - has used one, either alone or in combination with a "real"
>tanpura.  To my ears it doesn't sound as nice as a genuine string tanpura,
>but I can certainly understand the portability, the comparative 
>and the wider tuning range.  (A string tanpura only sounds good within a
>very limited  range -- for instance C to D, but not above or below).  Yet
>another increasingly popular device is the "electronic tabla."  I must 
>guiltily to using one of these myself.  It can never replace a live tabla
>player, but it's great for practice since you can work with about a dozen
>common "taal-s" (rhythm cycles) and vary the tempo as well as the pitch 
>tune to your instrument).  Plus, it doesn't "give attitude" like a real
>tabla player, and you can turn it off when it becomes too annoying ;)
>(My apologies to tabliyas worldwide!)

Instead of using an "electronic  tanpura", the drone could be looped from
the sitar for each piece of music, wouldn't that sound nicer?

>>How do you think the indians would receive the looping tools to
>>simplyfy/extend their music?
>Excellent question!  One common aspect of Indian music and looping is that
>ICM is largely repetitive to begin with, but part of the allure of a good
>musician is that s/he will take even the most frequently repeated phrase 
>slightly alter it each time, making it new and exciting.  But as far as
>serious classical performance goes, I couldn't really forsee looping being
>widely accepted, except possibly for replacing the tanpura drone, which is
>already being done electronically.  However, the Indian sense of tolerance
>and absorption from other countries and cultures is legendary.  For
>instance, the sitar, sarod, shehnai, and harmonium were all developed from
>"foreign" instruments, and today there are many performers playing 
>"slide" guitars and electric mandolins.  So anything is possible!  I'd 
>to see it happen.

How about the use of pickups on those instruments? I remember the arabian
musicians using pickups on their instruments for quite a while.

>James Pokorny
>Ate logo, Matthias!

Muito obrigado pela contribuicao interessante, Joao!