Q Does Pakhawaj performer’s height have any role to play while making a decision to buy the instrument?
Yes. Height of the player should be considered while deciding on the size of the Pakhawaj one is planning to buy. A Pakhawaj measuring 22-23″ in length, with right size measuring approx. 6.7″, and left size 8.3″is a Pakhawaj meant for kids of younger lot. A Full size Pakhwaj measures around 28 to 30 Inches length-wise. Bigger side 9.25″ & smaller side measures 6.5″ or 7″
Q Please explain how a Pakhawaj should be tuned to accompany a C# sitar?
Tune the Pakhawaj in C#. The Pakhawaj with several sizes, enables the Pakhawaj to be tuned to the pitch of the instruments it is supposed to accompanies. IF buying another size Pakhawaj is not viable try tuning based on the raga.
Q Is it possible for one to play Pakhwaj along with playing Tabla since harmoia of the keyboard sound same, well almost!?
Playing Tabla and Pakhawaj are two very different ball games. It takes more energy to play Pakhawaj because gravity wors against the arms of the player.
Coming back to the question, it is however possible with great amount of dedication proficiency in both some players do manage to create a magic with both. But it is a very tough act.
To learn Pakhawaj you need to be familiar with Tabla, plus you can’t learn Pakhawaj on the basis of what you know about playing Tabla. You will have to find a teacher. Though it may sound similar, many of the primary bols in Pakhawaj are very different from that of Tabla.
Is applying the atta paste really such an important step or just an old school ritual? It’s sort of messy. Can it be avoided by any chance?
Atta has acoustic properties that cannot be undermined. The batter paste provides a lot more and better quality bass when compared to syahi. But it does limit modulation nevertheless.
People are using Blue-Tac in place of atta but they are realized it is a short term solution plus it leaves an oily residue which is a task in itself to get rid of. People generally do go back to atta business after trying a few options and really, it is not difficult, messy and above all inexpensive.