What is ideally a Good Rabab all about?
Rabab is made from choicest and well-seasoned piece of wood, displays good workmanship, professional and rich tonal quality and should preferably come with a wooden case where it will remain protected.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Rabab does not have frets like the sitar. Instead it has four strings – one or two made of brass and the remaining two made of gut with sympathetic metal strings attached to the side. There are rababs found where all the strings are of gut.
The Rabab is generally played with a plectrum, but sometimes it has also been adapted in a manner that enables it to be played with a bow. It produces a fine brilliant tone and its shallow bowl is usually made from mulberry wood.
If you are a student wanting to learn Rabab, its best to take your teacher or guide along while buying one for yourself. If you are a teacher wanting to buy rabab, get something that is long lasting and sturdy and if you are a performer go for the one that is most traditionally made and will produce the best sound quality.
What are other accompanying instruments with Rabab?
During Mughal times and Rabab was accompanied by pakhawaj. The Rabab has been superseded by the Sarod in classical music performance, thanks to adaptation in Bengal which was also known because besides Rabab, good quality Sarods were also manufactured.
What About Tuning the Rabab?
The tuning is along the lines of “Pa Sa Pa” on a 3 string , however on a 4 string Rabab, it goes to SA PA SA MA The Indian scale of notation is SA RE GA MA PA DA NI which is the western equivalent of DO RE ME SO FA LA TI. The player needs to understand that though it can be tuned to any scale but there has to be one standard tuning because of the string material/thickness and the body of Rabab.