Veena – History & Info

in History & Info,Veena

The Veena is an ancient Indian musical instrument around since the the Vedic age, and has gone through several innovations and modifications in terms of crafting and design.

The length of Veena is 1.5m and is made from Jackwood. It has a large, round body with a thick, wide neck, the end of which is carved into sort of the head of a dragon. A resonator is attached at the underside of the neck. It resembles the shape of the double toomba sitar, has two large wooden, or gourd, toombas.

The rarer, and more expensive ones are carved from a single block of wood. However the  modern and innovated Veenas’ are crafted in three sections, the resonator, neck and head.

The string instrument has 24 metal frets fixed in hardened bees-wax, mixed with charcoal powder. The sound and melody is produced with the help of four metal strings that run above the frets. These strings are stretched over a wide bridge that sits on the body of the Veena.

Besides the four metal strings there are three other strings that run parallel to the neck of Veena and are used for maintaining time & playing the drone. The performer, who sits cross-legged on the stage, rests the small resonator on the left lap. The fingers of the left hand are used to press, pull and glide on the frets, while the fingers of the right hand are used to pluck and twang the strings.

The Veena is a complete instrument and provides sruti, laya as well as emotions. Its mellow tonal quality creates a meditative atmosphere. Some of the most ancient techniques of playing a Veena have vanished from the scene and so has the melody in its serenest best. Even if some of the old playing techniques are brought back it will make a huge difference in the quality of final output.

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