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Asad Ali Khan (1937-2011) REST IN PEACE!
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http://sanjannagar.org/sagar-veena/ Listen: http://vimeo.com/10682091 Sagar Veena is a completely new addition to the existing variety of stringed Instruments for playing North Indian Classical Music (NICM), and a new invention in musical instruments altogether. The name is divided into two parts; “Sagar” being a Sanskrit word for ocean, while “Veena” a generic term used to classify the family of stringed instruments, or more commonly known in Western musical nomenclature as chordophones. Visually, the Sagar Veena belongs to the two-gourd family of Veenainstruments, but in essence it is a radical departure from all existing stringed instruments of NICM, in all respects, starting from the concept behind it to the minutest details of both its design and construction. In terms of sound and acoustics, Sagar Veena has an unparalleled range of timbres and pitch registers for the musician to explore and to create music. It is also a highly resonating instrument, which provides the overall quality of sound with richness and clarity. Sagar Veena is an unfretted stringed instrument. Its vibrating part consists of nine playing strings and two drone chords, a wooden bridge with silver (never used before in any string instrument) transmitters orjowari, , and the sounding board. The nine playing strings are a combination of the three asthans in Indian Music, the Mandrasthan(bass), Madhasthan (mid range), and Tarasthan (highs); three strings representing each of the asthans. The resonating portion consists of two fabricated tumbas made from pieces of gourd joined together to form the desired shape and size. The geometry of the tumbas resembles that of a geodesic dome-like structure which helps them to resonate more musically compared to natural tumbas. These tumbas are connected by a hollow wooden tube in the middle. The dimensions and sizes of the different components in terms of their length, breadth, curvature, shape, thickness and the materials used have been finalized through a tedious process of experimentation and testing over a period of thirty eight years. During this period, especially since 1995, new tools and techniques have been developed to produce the desired inventions and innovations. So that beginning from a rather simple structure, Sagar Veena has now acquired a detailed and complex design, capable of producing the sound characteristics mentioned above. In appearance the technique of playing the Sagar Veena resembles that of the Vichitra Veena or Mohan Veena ; that is, sliding a crystal ball or some other object across the strings at one end to produce and control different combinations and variations of musical sounds, and simultaneously plucking the strings on the other end with a plectrum to get the sound. However in actual terms it involves a much more subtle control in sliding the crystal ball over the strings, giving pressures and tensions through it, and also the plectrum wherever required, along with many other factors. The technique for playing Sagar Veena has developed along with the requirements emerging from a continuous upgrading of the instrument. Although, it has now reached a stable position, it is still being developed further and chiseled to reap the full potential of the instrument.