Is anyone familiar with Amjad Ali Khan style fingerings for Sarod?

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tomeks...@gmail.com

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Jul 26, 2007, 2:11:32 PM7/26/07
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I'm familiar with the Ali Akbar style, 3 finger approach, and was
curious how thaats are fingered in the Amjad Ali 2 finger technique.
In particular, I'd like to know how a whole step or larger intervals
on the same strings are handled.
I'd be grateful if someone could shed some light on this.

darbari_2002

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Jul 28, 2007, 9:33:12 AM7/28/07
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The 2 finger technique is usually sufficient for most intervals on the same
string. Due to the Ud Amjad Ali style of holding the sarod and the angle of
the nails on the strings, practically all combinations of notes can be
played without any problems.

And the his style usually involves playing very intricate taans which relies
heavily on the left hand fingering, which is ample proof that the 2 finger
technique is adequate. I can think of only one situation (on different
strings) where the third finger might be useful, but none on the same
strings.

The key difference is the way the sarod is held and the angle of the nails
on the strings. IMHO, this makes it a lot easier for the player and also
facilitates taankari. As a general observation, Ud Amjad Ali's approach of
using lesser strings, smaller java, string/nail angle and other technical
innovations have made things a bit easier for those who want to play this
instrument.

Rahul

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tomeks...@gmail.com

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Jul 28, 2007, 5:59:12 PM7/28/07
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On Jul 28, 7:33 am, "darbari_2002" <darbari_2...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> The 2 finger technique is usually sufficient for most intervals on the same
> string. Due to the Ud Amjad Ali style of holding the sarod and the angle of
> the nails on the strings, practically all combinations of notes can be
> played without any problems.
>
> And the his style usually involves playing very intricate taans which relies
> heavily on the left hand fingering, which is ample proof that the 2 finger
> technique is adequate. I can think of only one situation (on different
> strings) where the third finger might be useful, but none on the same
> strings.
>
> The key difference is the way the sarod is held and the angle of the nails
> on the strings. IMHO, this makes it a lot easier for the player and also
> facilitates taankari. As a general observation, Ud Amjad Ali's approach of
> using lesser strings, smaller java, string/nail angle and other technical
> innovations have made things a bit easier for those who want to play this
> instrument.
>
> Rahul
>

Rahul, thank you for your reply. Could you please elaborate on the
issue of holding the sarod, and nail angle? It is too my observation
that Amjad Ali's technique seems very efficient and effective,
particularly his picking. Would you mind sharing what a fingering
would look like for, say, kalyan thaat in the lower two octaves?

darbari_2002

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Jul 29, 2007, 10:12:45 AM7/29/07
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In terms of the sarod holding and nail angle style, it is very similar to
the way one holds a guitar - the thumb is at a right angle to the neck, and
the angle of the finger upon the string is almost the same if you were
playing a chord. (I hope you get the picture). The tip of the nail then
comes in at roughly the same angle as your finger would be on the guitar.
The key is to maintain a relaxed but firm grip.

This is why if you are a guitarist, it is easier to pick up this style of
sarod playing, as it is fairly similar in many aspects. The size of the java
(jaba) is not much bigger than a typical guitar plectrum, and the placement
of fingers around the java is similar. The angle at which the java hits the
strings is very close to that of the guitar. All this makes the transition
for a guitar player that much easier - given that it's a fairly steep
transition to a world without frets where you rely on the placement of the
tip of your nail!

In terms of Kalyan/Yaman, I'm assuming you mean the Mandra and Madhya
saptaks - you have only one lower octave (Mandra) on the Amjad Ali sarod -
you'd have the first finger playing the lower Re,lower Dha, Re, Tivra Ma,
Pa - the rest would be the second finger. However, exceptions exist. For
example, you could play a meend on the Kharaj string between Re and Ga. In
that case, you won't change fingers mid-meend, so the first finger will play
both notes.

In order to lock in finger placement, it is recommended by gurus to practice
"paltas" using different multiples of notes at different speeds -it feels a
bit strange at first to guitarists who use all 4 fingers, but pretty soon,
the recommended finger usage becomes second habit.

Rahul

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tomeks...@gmail.com

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Jul 29, 2007, 11:24:12 AM7/29/07
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Rahul, thank you so much! This is really great info.
As it happens, I just broke the nail on my third finger... so that
will gives me an excuse to play around with this technique. My guru is
a sitarist, so don't think he minds what fingering I use, as long as
it works.
One last question - any idea where I could possibly purchase such a
java?
All the best,
Tomek

tomeks...@gmail.com

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Jul 29, 2007, 7:42:19 PM7/29/07
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Actually I lied, it wasn't the last question...
Is meend performed by both fingers, or mostly first finger?

As a matter of fact, I'm also making a transition from guitar, so the
parallels you pointed out definitely appeal to me.

darbari_2002

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Jul 30, 2007, 9:39:00 AM7/30/07
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Hi there

Breaking nails is the bane of sarod players - one option is to file the nail
back as much as possible. The second option is to wrap tape around your
nails which is a bit extreme (I do that sometimes). From observation, nails
break when they are a bit longer than needed, which also indicates lack of
riyaaz !

In answer to your questions:

Re: java - you are best getting one from a fellow sarodiya. If you don't
know anyone, then try an indian musical shop. Their javas are usually crude,
and need a bit of oil and grinding down on fine stone, till the wooden
"twang" disappears. If you don't have stone, then very fine sandpaper can
also be used. Usually, a java is not "playworthy" until it has had some
months of use, unless you happen to get some which are pre-prepared to that
extent.

Or, if you really want to make your own, you can do so (starting with a
coconut), but it's advisable to get these through the first two options.
Maybe your teacher can help.

Re: meend, again, depends on the notes. You are correct in that it is mostly
the first finger which is seen to be initiating the meend, however, the
placement of the note can lead to the second finger being used as well.

Overall, if you're new to sarod technique, I'd recommend learning that bit
from a sarod teacher, especially in the early stages, where good habits need
to be cultivated.

Good luck with your sarod playing !

Rahul

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tomeks...@gmail.com

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Jul 31, 2007, 10:34:33 AM7/31/07
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Rahul, thank you for the info, and encouragement!
Unfortunately in my area there are no sarod teachers, otherwise it
would be definitely the thing to do. I did get some and a rundown of
the basic technique from a more experienced student of sarod, which
definitely helped.
As for the java, I guess I'll just need to keep my eyes open.
Warm regards,
Tomek

sachi...@gmail.com

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Jun 11, 2018, 9:18:06 AM6/11/18
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The Ali Akbar style Sarod is a little longer than the Amjad Ali style, it helps to reach distant notes with three fingers

Abhijit M

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Jul 13, 2021, 12:21:17 PM7/13/21
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What do you mean by "a little longer"? Can you explain please?
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