VINA



Rudra vina is also known as bin (been), appears to be oldest style of vina such evidence is its construction in the shape of old temples.



The Vina is one of the most ancient and important instruments of South India. Earlier, any stringed instrument was known as a Vina. However, what we now associate with this word is a 7- stringed, 24-fretted instrument. Owing to its rich and long tradition, there have been several exponents of this instrument and consequently a lot of different styles. The Vina is considered one of the loveliest instruments of Carnatic music for its sweet tone and ability to produce all the nuances and ornamentations unique to this system of music.



Construction: Made of jack wood, the Vina consists of a hollow resonator carved out of a single block of wood that continues as a long fretted neck to which is attached another smaller resonator. The neck curves backwards and at the end is a carved head of a mythological animal.




Tuning: In ancient times, the Vina had several strings, each tuned to a different note. The modern Vina with a range of three and a half octaves was perfected by Govinda Dikshitar, Prime Minister to the ruler of Tanjavur, Raghunatha Nayak in the 17th century. The last string (i.e. closest to the artiste) which is the main string, is tuned to the tonic note Sa, i.e., the Adhara Shadja, which can be of any convenient pitch. The other strings are tuned in relation to that note. The third string is tuned to the lower fifth perfect, Pa, the second to the tonic note, Sa in the lower octave and the first string, again to Pa, an octave lower than the Pa of the third string. The side strings, (called the Tala strings) are tuned to the tonic Sa, Pa and again, Sa in the higher octave from the top to bottom respectively. Again, if needed, the middle string, Pa could be changed to Ma when Madhyama Sruti is required. In the olden days, the pitch used to be in the range of 4 - 5 kattai (F and G), but it has now been standardised to 2 1/2 (D #).

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