Chitravenu

— a musical instrument invented by Uday Shankar

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Chitravenu is a new composite musical instrument that combines a continuous pitch wind instrument and a plucked string instrument. It is probably theĀ first serious alternative (i,e., apart from toys and gimmicks) wind instrument since the saxophone which was introduced about 150 years ago.

The wind instrument section of the Chitravenu is capable of producing a continuum of pitches in a fashion that is highly suited to playing Indian classical music both of the Carnatic and Hindustani systems.

The string section of the chitravenu is a custom built zither with three sections 1) A tambura tuned the traditional way as P-S-S-s to the shruti or tonic, typically E or F 2) three sets of 4 strings each, tuned to chords relevant to the raga chosen 3) 18 strings which are tuned to the scale of the raga being improvised. The wind section is played with one hand, and the other hand is used to pluck or strum the stings. The combination of plucked strings and sliding wind offers an exciting soundscape.

One response to “Chitravenu”

  1. Raghav Mahalingam says :

    Uday,

    This is such an impressive achievement. I love the versatility of the instrument, and even though you’ve been practicing and innovating for such a short time, it is obvious that this instrument has great potential, not just in Indian Classical Music, but as you pointed out, as a parallel to the trombone in Western music as well. The instrument has a very earthy sound to it, very acoustic, as you point out. I’m looking forward to hearing more music from this instrument. Congratulations!

    Raghav

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