Tambura vs Veena
Tambura and Veena are the two kinds of musical instruments used in India. Tambura is a plucked stringed instrument, normally used as an instrument that is capable of fixing the Shruti or the voice alignment or sound alignment during a musical performance, while Veena is also a plucked stringed instrument used in the Carnatic music tradition.
Tambura is a long necked plucked lute. The body of the Tambura slightly resembles that of the Sitar. It has no frets like the Veena. Tamburas come in different sizes, and has four or five wire strings. They are plucked one after the other to maintain a kind of harmonic resonance on the basic note. The basic note is called as the Shruti.
The sizes of the Tamburas differ in the case of the male and the female vocalists. The Tambura used by male singers has an open string length of one meter approximately. On the other hand, the tambura used by female singers is three-fourths of the tambura used by the male singers.
It is interesting to note that the word ‘tambura’ is formed by the combination of the two words, namely, tan and pura. Tan refers to the musical phrasem whereas pura means ‘full’. Tambura comes in three different styles, namely, the Tanjore style, Tamburi and Miraj style. Miraj style of tambura is used by the classical Hindustani musicians, while the Tanjore style of tambura is used by the Carnatic musicians. Tamburi is used as an accompaniment by instrumental soloists.
Tambura is often replaced by harmonium in the initial stages of practice of music. The experts in the art of playing Tambura assist the main performer with diligence and meticulousness. Tambura players are honored for their service to the cause of music.
There are various varieties of Veena such as Rudra Veena, Saraswati Veena and Raghunatha Veena. Veena too comes in different sizes, but the well known Tanjore Veena, used in performances, comes in one standard size.
Veena is a very popular instrument when it comes to Carnatic music. Stalwarts like Dhanammal, Emani Sankara Sastri, Chittibabu and Mysore Doreswamy Iyengar are known worldwide for their contribution to Veena music.
Veena also, is associated with religious and mythological characters of India. The goddess of Learning, Saraswathi is depicted as a goddess with Veena on her lap. Sage Narada is always said to carry his veena with him. Ravana, the king of Lanka is said to be a great vainika, an expert in the art of playing the veena. His brother Vibheeshana is also said to be a great vainika.