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An unusual appearanceFrom one octave to anotherA craftsman’s work of artPicture gallery

Ragini Todi

Ragini Todi,
Mughal School,
end of the 17th century,
the Museum für
Islamische Kunst

From one octave to another

The rudra-vina has four melodic strings that pass over 24 frets. Two or three rhythmical strings (chikari) and one drone string (laraj) are stretched out along the length of the tube, arranged on both sides of the frets. Unlike the alignment adopted with the large majority of plucked and bowed instruments, in the rudra-vina the thickest string (karaj) is found nearest to the outside edge of the fingerboard, the others following in descending order.
This arrangement allows the slenderest string (nayaki), situated near the inside edge of the fingerboard, to be stretched during glissando (mind) across the width of the fret and thus to get a variation in pitch, which could reach a fifth.

According to the size of the instrument,
the pitch of the keynote (Sa) would be located between Fa3 and La b 3.
Laraj : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.50 to 0.60 mm
Karaj : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.90 to 1.20 mm
Pa : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.70 to 0.90 mm
Sa : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.55 to 0.70 mm
Ma : steel, Ø : 0.40 to 0.45 mm
Chikari 1 and 2 : steel, Ø : 0.25 to 0.30 mm
Chikari 3 : steel, Ø : 0.20 to 0.25 mm

The karaj string is tuned an octave below the keynote (Sa).
The Pa string is tuned to a fifth above the karaj, and the Sa string, a quarter above the Pa.
The Ma string, in turn, is tuned a quarter above the Sa.
This tuning allows the musicians to obtain a range beyond three octaves.

To get a glimpse of the tones of the different strings of the rudra-vina, click on the instrument in the Flash animation shown below:

If the animation does not appear on your screen, install the Flash plug-in.
To download Flash from the Macromedia website, click here.


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