Rajeev Taranath
Taking the Sarod to New Depths
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Paula: What are some of the challenges of learning and playing the sarod?

Rajeev Taranath: Most of the plucked instruments of India have frets. The bowed instruments, some of them, do not have frets.

This has a logic when you consider that the short sound duration of each plucking is compensated by the presence of the fret - the fingers need not feel lost in the silence between plucking and plucking. The sustained sound of the bowed instrument allows the fingers to achieve precision on the finger board even if it is fretless.

The sarod is plucked with a plectrum, but it has no frets. To get a pure note on this instrument is a considerable achievement.

There are other difficulties. The nails of the left-hand fingers are required to be used in order get glides and glidelike movements - and Indian music is replete with them. Indeed, they are typical.

The sarod is capable of a rich tonality. To produce relevant tones is part of a difficult and continuing exploration.

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