Sydney Recording Studios: Now we follow on from the last blog about the fascinating history of the Sitar.
…This of course was a different Amir Khusru from the one who lived in 1300. This latter Amir Khusru was the 15th descendent of Naubat Khan, the son-in-law of Tansen. It is said that he developed this instrument from the Persian Sehtar.
Sydney Recording Studios: Further development of the Sitar
Amir Khusru’s grandson Masit Khan was one of the most influential musicians in the development of the Sitar. He composed numerous slow gats in the dhrupad style of the day. This style is referred to as Masitkhani Gat. The Masitkhani gats were further popularized by his son, Bahadur Khan. Masit Khan was a resident of Delhi; therefore Masitkhani Gats are sometimes referred to as Dilli Ka Baaj.
Sydney Recording Studios: Raza Khan
Raza Khan was also an important person in the development of sitar music. Raza Khan was also a descendent of Tansen and lived in Lucknow around 1800-1850. Raza Khan was also known as Ghulam Raza. He developed the fast gat known as Razakani gat.
Amrit Sen and Rahim Sen are credited with modifying the tuning and stringing of the Sitar and introducing numerous new techniques to the instrument.
Sydney Recording Studios: Constant evolution of the Sitar
Whatever its true history, the sitar has continued to evolve over the centuries and is still evolving.. Presently, there is 3 forms of sitar The the Kharaj pancham ( sitar in General with,7 stringes with 2 bass strings) the Ghandhar pancham( 6 stringed no bass strings.).and the Ravi Shankar style(Kharaj pancham with, with 6 strings)The Kharaj Pancham sitar Played and popularised by Ravi Shankar, has 4 octaves and 6 primary playing strings and 2 bass strings..The Gandhar pancham sitar modified and popularised by Vilayat Khan has 3 octaves and no bass strings In addition to the top playing strings threr are 12 to 13 Tarafs (resonating strings ) underneath the top 7main strings. When a note is struck on the fret these Tarafs ring with the same frequency to create a natural reverb inbuilt in the instrument.