Tuning up a sitar

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Music Dan-O at Danosongs.com / Incompetech.com

Generally the sitar (or the sa) is tuned to C sharp or D.

The second string is tuned to the lower octave, sa (or the mandra sa).

We can use a pitch pipe to help us tune the sitar to the correct note.

The first string is tuned to ma, mandra ma.

The second string is tuned to sa, mandra sa

The third string is tuned to atimandra pa.

The fourth string is tuned to atimandra sa.

The fifth string is tuned to mandra pa.

The sixth string is tuned to madhya sa.

The seventh string is tuned to taar saptak sa.

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings are all copper strings for this particular sitar.

This style is known as Ravi Shankar’s style.

For the seven strings, the tuning is as follows: mandra ma, mandra sa, atimandra pa, atimandra sa, mandra pa, madhya sa, taar sa.

Currently, the sa is tuned to C sharp.

We could tune the sa to D, and the intervals between the notes will remain unchanged.

The second string will be tuned to D.

The seven strings will be tuned in the following manner: ma, sa, pa, sa, sa, sa.

There is another style, called the Vilayat Khani style, where the second string is attached to the top-most left peg.

Instead of the two copper strings, there are two steel strings.

The advantage of the Ravi Shankar style is having an extra base octave.

In the Vilayat Khan style, however, we can’t play the base octave because of the steel strings and the fact that there are only 6 strings.

Therefore, we have only the mandra , madhya and tar octaves.

The ati mandra saptak is missing in this case.

These strings are known as tarab strings.

Tarab means joy.

These strings vibrate when a note is played on the main strings.

The tuning of the tarab strings depends on the melody we play .

We tune them in ascending order.

If the sitar is tuned to D, the sa on the tarab strings is also tuned to D.

Accordingly, we tune the other notes like so: sa ra ga ma pa dha ni sa re ga.

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