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Re: Asian instruments

Senhor Matthias:  Outra vez voce tem umas perguntas muitas interesantes.
At the risk of straying too far from looping, I'll respond.

>>>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 
>>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?

This depends.  Some "schools" of Indian classical music strive for extreme
clarity of expression.
This can include such details as clear and precise intonation of every 
thoughtful and
economic phrasing, and in the case of vocal music, an attempt to make the
lyrical portion easily
understood.  In this performance style overdoing the reverb would be a
distraction to the listeners
and an annoyance to the performers.  However, there are also performers who
go more in the
direction of overall "mood," "sound," and "feeling" in which case the
additional electronic effects
certainly help to create an atmosphere.  I'm really speaking only of the
classical music.  As
another list member pointed out, in the extremely popular film music
anything goes.

[Re: synthesizers in ICM]
>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...

Equipment is definitely a big limitation.  Imported high-tech gear is
prohibitively expensive.
Even if a musician could afford the gear there's the constant problem of
never knowing
when the electricity will go out, or how soon it will come back on.  (To go
24 hours with no
power is a common occurrence even in the large cities)  Also, even if the
power cooperates
there's always the trouble of using converters for the different current.

What I had more in mind though, was the use of synthesizers to give a wide
variety of tonal
colors to the music, and to recreate the slow glides between notes (meend),
as well as other
graces and techniques that derive from vocal music, and are incorporated
into the playing
techniques of almost all instruments.

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

This is what I've been doing when I don't want to go to the trouble of
hooking up a
tanpura for what will amount to a 5-second sample.  It's convenient, but I
much prefer
the textural richness of the tanpura.  The overall timbre of sitar and
tanpura are
very close, but the tanpura's sound is so special that a sitar would only 
a cheap
copy.  [Conversely, the sound of the tanpura is close, but no sitar! ;) ]

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

Some musicians are using them, especially those who have been to Europe and
the States.  Of course the sound all depends on what the pickups are 
I've only ever seen two performers (the incredible South Indian mandolin
U. Srinivas and the brilliant South Indian violinist L. Shankar) use
Indian music performances currently tend to be severely overamplified.  Of
being part of the third world, the available equipment is very limited.
I've seen pickups
used on some string instruments like sitar, sarod, and the South Indian
veena, but
have never seen them used on tabla or other percussion instruments.

>Muito obrigado pela contribuicao interessante, Joao!

O prazer e todo meu!

James (Jaimezinho) Pokorny