Sitar vs Veena
Sitar and Veena are both stringed instruments of India. They are different in terms of their making, the style of play and the like. The veena is mostly used in Carnatic music recitals whereas, Sitar is mostly used in Hindustani music recitals. Both the instruments look almost alike by the inclusion of a long hollow neck and a gourd resonating chamber. Sitar is widely used in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is made known world-wide thanks to the efforts of Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Veena is called by different names, such as rudra veena, saraswati veena or raghunatha veena. In addition to being a stringed instrument, it is also a plucked stringed instrument. There are several variations in the making of a veena. A person who is adept in the playing of the veena is called a vainika. The veena gained popularity in the West due to the efforts of stalwarts like Chittibabu, Dhanammal, Emani Shankara Sastri, Mysore Doreswamy Iyengar and others.
The veena is about 4 feet in length. Its design comprises of a big resonator or kudam and a tapering hollow neck like that of a sitar. The top board of the resonator is decorated with the presence of two rosettes. It is interesting to note that they were primarily made of ivory, but now are replaced by plastic. There are totally seven strings used in a veena. All the seven strings are made of steel.
Sitar also in addition to being a stringed instrument is a plucked stringed instrument. It has developed in the 13th century. You can trace the origin of Sitar from the tritantri veena. During the times of Tansen, the famous musician in the court of Akbar, the Great, a sitar like Tampura was existent. Sitar might have developed from several Mughal period Persian lutes. Some of the very popular Sitar artistes of the past include Vilayat Khan, Sharif Khan, Rais Khan and Balram Pathak.
It is important to note that Sitar has two bridges, a large bridge and a small bridge. The large bridge is called as badaa goraa and it is used for playing and drone strings. The small bridge, otherwise called as chota goraa, is used for the sympathetic strings. The various tones arise due to the variations of the length of the string when it reverberates.
The veena is played by sitting cross-legged while the sitar is balanced nicely between the player’s left foot and the right knee thus enabling your hands to move freely without having to feel the burden of the instrument. Thus, the method of holding a sitar is different from the method of holding a veena while playing.
Veena is associated with the Goddess of Learning, Saraswati. Sage Narada is also portrayed as carrying a veena with him. Veena has been quoted in several Sanskrit works including Ramayana and Mahabharata. Thus, Veena is older than Sitar when it comes to its use.