Stringed Things: ESRAJ (a.k.a. “Dilruba”)




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Published on May 4, 2017

ESRAJ (a.k.a. “Dilruba”): An Indian stringed instrument with a medium-sized sitar-like neck with 20 frets; neck holds a long wooden rack of 12-15 sympathetic strings, and four main strings which are bowed. (All strings are metal.) The soundboard is a stretched piece of goatskin similar to what is found on a sarangi. The instrument is commonly rested on the knee of the player while sitting, the neck leaning on the left shoulder. It’s played with a bow (known as a "gaz"), with the other hand moving along the strings above the frets. The player may slide the note up or down to achieve the portamento, or “meend,” characteristic of Indian music.

DISCLAIMER (lol): I should mention that, at least on guitar, my vibrato does not suck. However, on THIS thing, it obviously needs work (especially the "high register" note-age)! Oddly, when filming this, I used a "finger wiggling" motion for vibrato, which is NOT how I'd been practicing; usually I "wrist pivot" from the inside of the thumb's first joint, which seems to be the more "correct" way. Oh well... this was the best take I could get. I promise my vibrato isn't this bad!

PS: Yes, I know I'm holding the bow incorrectly :-) I gots a long way to go with this instrument!

Song: "Esraj Against the Machine"
© Dale Turner 2017


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