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Re: Asian instruments

>Incidentally, the sounds of the sitar, kanun and other indian stringed
>instruments tend to be come less exotic when processed with modulation,
>and filtering.  Afterall, the sympathetic strings and and buzz timbres of
>instruments are really analog, accoustic versions of filtering, and
>Consequently, I tend to utilize these timbres as is in my own loop based

I couldn't agree with you more.  Between the specialized "buzzing" jawari
bridges and sympathetic strings (as well as the skin faces of instruments
like sarod, sarangi, and dilruba) the Indian instruments seem to have
incorporated pre-electronic "signal processing."  Any additional effects
really do tend to mask their natural timbres.

This brings up a point about "sound worlds" among the various musical
cultures throughout the world.  In India there's a definite tendency 
overtone-rich, twangy sounds that are generally considered undesirable in
western music (especially in classical music).  At a sitar workshop I was
giving once, someone asked me "Why does your instrument sound like a bad
guitar?"  This floored me!  It does, when you think about it.  But that's a
sound quality which is pleasant to Indian ears.  Similarly, in many African
musical cultures, instruments are equipped with "sizzle mechanisms" such as
cowrie shells, bottlecaps, jingling metal rings, etc. to add an extra
dimension to the overall sound of the instruments.  Whereas in the western
tradition we've generally preferred clean and clear sounds from our
instruments.  It's nice to see that this is changing, and that "noise" can
also be incorporated into music.  I've even heard tell of Appalachian
musicians placing rattlesnake rattles inside their instruments to improve
the sound!

It don't mean a thang if it ain't got that twang!

Really enjoying the input of everyone on the list.