#1
Ok, without going into too much detail, what is some basic sitar theory? Could I just use double harmonic, and persian scales to create kind of a middle eastern sound? Or is it completely different for sitar?
#2
Theory is theory. It is universal, meaning that it transfers over among all instruments.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#3
Quote by food1010
Theory is theory. It is universal, meaning that it transfers over among all instruments.


(This is true, and you obviously know your stuff, but I'm going to be adversarial for learning's sake.)

True, Except not exactly.

If you want to sound "middle eastern" just sort of slide up and down one string in harmonic minor.

That sort of music for real however is not based on harmony at all as far as I know. That being said, they dont use their scales the same way. Keep in mind as well that indian classical music is also their ... "primitive" music. You look at east asia, or north america and it's musics and you see in general the music either has more of a purpose than other kinds in that it is the back drop for something greater or is meant to set some sort of mood. You really need to learn about rhythms and forms if you want to really learn their beautiful sounds.

I dont know how authentic you want to be, but I can keep going...
Last edited by nightwind at Sep 1, 2010,
#4
Quote by nightwind
(This is true, and you obviously know your stuff, but I'm going to be adversarial for learning's sake.)

True, Except not exactly.

If you want to sound "middle eastern" just sort of slide up and down one string in harmonic minor.
That sort of music for real however is not based on harmony at all as far as I know. That being said, they dont use their scales the same way. Keep in mind as well that indian classical music is also their ... "primitive" music. You look at east asia, or north america and it's musics and you see in general the music either has more of a purpose than other kinds in that it is the back drop for something greater or is meant to set some sort of mood. You really need to learn about rhythms and forms if you want to really learn their beautiful sounds.
I dont know how authentic you want to be, but I can keep going...


The first bolded part - thats some positive high modality there, you obviously know your stuff :/

The second part, ALL music has a purpose and to set a mood, whether pop music makes you happy or want to dance or metal and rock want you to contemplate and think - or jazz wants you to appreciate life and the power of self expression

Theory IS universal, it just depends where its coming from (east / west)

TS, try looking into modal and dronal types of music, like raga's and stuff
Quote by BlitzkriegAir
1. Get drunk
2. play pentatonic scales fast
3. throw in some divebombs and pinch harmonics
4. Get killed onstage
5. become legendary guitarist instantaneously


Quote by Holy Katana

How dare you attack the greatness of the augmented sixth?
#5
Quote by Tominator_1991
The first bolded part - thats some positive high modality there, you obviously know your stuff :/

The second part, ALL music has a purpose and to set a mood, whether pop music makes you happy or want to dance or metal and rock want you to contemplate and think - or jazz wants you to appreciate life and the power of self expression

Theory IS universal, it just depends where its coming from (east / west)

TS, try looking into modal and dronal types of music, like raga's and stuff



You obviously lack reading comprehension.

Not EVERYONE wants to grind on music theory. It was very likely this guy just wanted to mess around and not study indian classical music.

Oh "modal and dronal types of music, like ragas and stuff".

"Theory is universal, but depends where you come from" uh...

You rip on me and then add that lovely little doodad ? Ragas and stuff! Dronal types of music. Sigh, why do we have kill : (

What I intended by the mood comment was that the mood is paramound often. In pop, catchiness and marketability takes precedence. Both in jazz and metal often put individual musicianship ahead of the atmosphere, in classical often we are stuck with just the most complex thoughts of the composer. Yes , they always present a mood, but in the classic styles mood is supreme. Just like how in dance music you don't want to be mucking up the rhythm, mood is the foundation.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#6
Sorry haha, I see the irony in my reply

The best thing to do when studying how to do something, is listening to it and watching it, feeling it
Quote by BlitzkriegAir
1. Get drunk
2. play pentatonic scales fast
3. throw in some divebombs and pinch harmonics
4. Get killed onstage
5. become legendary guitarist instantaneously


Quote by Holy Katana

How dare you attack the greatness of the augmented sixth?
#7
Quote by Tominator_1991
Sorry haha, I see the irony in my reply

The best thing to do when studying how to do something, is listening to it and watching it, feeling it


Ok friends : )

FOR NOW!!!!!


I agree with this guy again in that in ANY STYLE OF MUSIC

AND YES THIS IS UNIVERSAL

Listening wins always. Listen and mimic if you want to learn a style. After you get a little bit under your fingers, analyze with what terms you know. If you dont have the skills to interpret what you are doing, hit the books. Then, listen more, then think, repeat.

We'd have some really ****in good musicians if they all did this.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#8
Theory is not universal. Indian and other forms of eastern music use completely different tunings (I think the one mainly used in Indian music is a non-tempered 19tone system, although I may be confusing it with another). In fact, a lot of eastern music does not use the same 12 notes we do. There is different theory in this different musical environment. Our 12TET Western system of music theory doesn't necessarily apply to the music of other cultures.
#9
Quote by nightwind
Ok friends : )

FOR NOW!!!!!


I agree with this guy again in that in ANY STYLE OF MUSIC

AND YES THIS IS UNIVERSAL

Listening wins always. Listen and mimic if you want to learn a style. After you get a little bit under your fingers, analyze with what terms you know. If you dont have the skills to interpret what you are doing, hit the books. Then, listen more, then think, repeat.

We'd have some really ****in good musicians if they all did this.


And they wouldnt argue about modes 24/7
Quote by BlitzkriegAir
1. Get drunk
2. play pentatonic scales fast
3. throw in some divebombs and pinch harmonics
4. Get killed onstage
5. become legendary guitarist instantaneously


Quote by Holy Katana

How dare you attack the greatness of the augmented sixth?
#10
Theory is theory. It is universal, meaning that it transfers over among all instruments.


true when dealing with western theory and western instruments, however, we are not in this case.
I honestly know next to nothing about indian music except for what im about to tell you (which was gleaned from wikipedia and a 2 week unit in my music history class last year).
in the traditiojn the sitar is used in, the music is entirely modal and based on a melodic system called raga. with ragas, there is a melody and a mode (the melody is contained within the mode), the closest western analogue to a raga is if one combined a jazz head and a scale. For example, if everytime you played in D dorian you played so what, and considered the melody of so what throughout your entire improvisation. Ragas also have some implied melodic motion (certain notes always move to certain other notes) and the notes themselves are completely different, as microtones are used.
listen to a ton of indian music (hindustani, not carnatac for sitar) and try to find a teacher who knows what hes or she is doing, not a guitarist who bought one on ebay.
#11
alright im no master at indian music but i have studied it in college. First off if youre serious about learning indian music you need to get a teacher. Second "persian scales" arent going to do the trick, persia = iran, iran does not equal indian music or a sitar.

Second theres a lot more behind the ideas they apply behind the scales then just "lets play in this scale". Certain indian ragas were only played during certain parts of the year. I.e. they are summer ragas as well as winter, spring and fall.

The scales are usually played with 1 to 2 fingers (the pointer finger and the middle finger) on one string

Theres lots of ragas you need to learn to just get the jist of it but you should learn the phrygian major scale (with a b7 and a natural7)

Theres a few other ragas i could help you out with, i cant remember the names of them at the moment but ill look back through my notes and try to give you some more advice.
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#12
I've learned quite a bit of Ravi Shankar and Shakti music...and I've learned them for guitar.

The sitar is an instrument that has it's own timbre just like any instrument. The western ear is used to hear things in a certain way based on the common instruments...like piano and guitar. But each instrument creates the same notes, just with the instruments characteristic behind it.

Much of the Ravi I have learned is nothing but a Major scale or modal derivative (not all, but there is plenty of the songs that are). But the Major scale 'sounds' different or exotic on the sitar as opposed to the piano. The reason being is the instrument, not the scale.

IOW, if you play a C Major scale on a piano, then a guitar, then a dulcimer, then a sitar, etc...you kind of walk the western ear from the norm to the exotic so to speak.

I have quite a few tutorials on "middle eastern" sounding scales, and techniques to creating the sound you might be looking for.

These lessons deal with a few scales (Phrygian Dominant, Dominant Pentatonic, Major scale, etc...) as well as a few techiniques (sliding, strum picking allowing you to accompany yourself with a drone while playing single note lines, mircotones, etc...).

As with any of my lesson, if there's an Introduction or Essential Reading listed, START THERE!!!

Phrygian Dominant Tutorial (includes the strumming technique, some sliding, mictrotonal): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/PhryDom/PhryDomTOC.htm

Indian Sliding Technique Part 1 (shows the classic sliding technique found in much middle eastern music and uses a Dominant Pentaotnic scale found in quite a bit of Shakti and John Mclaughlin, Chick Corea, etc... music): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/IndSlide/indslidehome_frames.htm

Indian Sliding Technique Part 2 (get more in depth with the technique and uses a lot of Phrygian Dominant lines): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/IndSlide2/indslidehome_frames.htm

Those aren't going to be your end all, but those sliding technique lessons have been used by some famous players to ramp up on copping the style into their playing. If you're really serious about the music itself I suggest a teach how teach carnatic music and maybe konokol.

Here's a an example from Part 2 of just using nothing but the E Major scale, with the sliding, microtonal, strumming, etc...techniques:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_16GNaUCoOM

Enjoy!
#14
Quote by canvasDude
Theory is not universal. Indian and other forms of eastern music use completely different tunings (I think the one mainly used in Indian music is a non-tempered 19tone system, although I may be confusing it with another). In fact, a lot of eastern music does not use the same 12 notes we do. There is different theory in this different musical environment. Our 12TET Western system of music theory doesn't necessarily apply to the music of other cultures.
You're completely right, but that's not what I meant.

I meant that theory transfers between instruments. And as far as I know, the sitar isn't tuned to any 19 tone system. It appears to me to be tuned to a 12 tone system.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#15
Quote by canvasDude
Has noone on this forum ever heard of microtonal music?



Does canvasdude never read the thread ?


Here's a an example from Part 2 of just using nothing but the E Major scale, with the sliding, microtonal, strumming, etc...techniques:



and the notes themselves are completely different, as microtones are used.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#16
Quote by food1010
You're completely right, but that's not what I meant.

I meant that theory transfers between instruments. And as far as I know, the sitar isn't tuned to any 19 tone system. It appears to me to be tuned to a 12 tone system.



I think the tuning isn't the thing, I'm pretty sure sitars are just tuned to an open chord or fifths and octaves , but it's the playing of the thing where the microtones arise..
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#17
Quote by nightwind
I think the tuning isn't the thing, I'm pretty sure sitars are just tuned to an open chord or fifths and octaves , but it's the playing of the thing where the microtones arise..
The whole tuning system of the instrument is 12 tone just like guitar. Each fret is a note in the 12 tone system. You are right that the playing is where microtones arise, but it's really no different than guitar. You can do the same microtonal stuff on guitar.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#18
Quote by food1010
The whole tuning system of the instrument is 12 tone just like guitar. Each fret is a note in the 12 tone system. You are right that the playing is where microtones arise, but it's really no different than guitar. You can do the same microtonal stuff on guitar.


But we don't base the timbre our music on that possibility.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#20
Quote by nightwind
But we don't base the timbre our music on that possibility.
You're exactly right. The theory is still the same though.

Edit: Let me clarify.

The theory isn't inherently different because of the instrument, it's different because it's a different type of music.

I still wouldn't say the theory is "different" though. It just uses different techniques. To be honest, it doesn't really go much further into microtonal theory than blues does.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Sep 2, 2010,
#21
Quote by food1010
You're exactly right. The theory is still the same though.

Edit: Let me clarify.

The theory isn't inherently different because of the instrument, it's different because it's a different type of music.

I still wouldn't say the theory is "different" though. It just uses different techniques. To be honest, it doesn't really go much further into microtonal theory than blues does.


OH now I understand you. I agree yes, we can use 'our' terms to talk about basically any type of music I've heard of, perhaps not to the very core , but more or less.

Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#22
Quote by MikeDodge
I mentioned it a few times in my response.


Sorry, I wasn't singling you out though. I was just a little frustrated because it seemed like noone was paying attention to the fact that many cultures don't use the same 12TET system we do, and that thus a lot of their music isn't quite equivocal to any sort of version we are capable of producing (within the system we use). And I apologize to nightwind for not seeing the word microtonal in your post.
#23
Quote by canvasDude
Sorry, I wasn't singling you out though. I was just a little frustrated because it seemed like noone was paying attention to the fact that many cultures don't use the same 12TET system we do, and that thus a lot of their music isn't quite equivocal to any sort of version we are capable of producing (within the system we use). And I apologize to nightwind for not seeing the word microtonal in your post.



Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#24
The thing about traditional Arabic music is it wasn't based on harmony, only melody. In this case ragas were developed in the same way modes were back when they were used for chants.

Each scale had a purpose, like did each modes did in the chanting days. There were scales that symbolize the morning, mid-day, and night time. These scales are the ragas. There are many more ragas of course but those are the simplest I've always thought.

Here's something that will be useful...Introduction to Indian Music by Ravi Shankar. This is the back cover of an album I got in the 70's. Hopefully you can zoom it enough to the read it.

Last edited by MikeDodge at Sep 2, 2010,
#25
I agree with Food's points for the most part, but the possibilities vary from instrument to instrument so does the music. The sitar you can bend a string up to 7 notes due to the curve in the frets, so you're going to hear completely different approach to melody then you would on a guitar. On a piano you can't bend at all, so you're going to use different methods in your playing to achieve what you want to then you would on a guitar. On a sitar also, it's very common to drone and then playing melody over a note, often accompanied by it's fifth. On a guitar it's more conventional to play triad chord or simple extension chords often incorporating open notes or barring.

So you see theory is transferable to any instruments, but we take different roads which each one, because they are built in a way which promotes certain types of playing and usage of theory.
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