The word sitar is derived from the Persian word sehtar, meaning “three-stringed.” The instrument appears to have descended from long-necked lutes taken to India from Central Asia. The sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in the 18th century. Today it is the dominant instrument in Hindustani music; it is used as a solo instrument with tambura (drone-lute) and tabla (drums) and in ensembles, as well as for northern Indian kathak (dance-dramas). Two modern schools of sitar playing in India are the Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan schools, each with its own playing style, type of sitar (varying in size, shape, number of strings, etc.), and tuning system.
In the 1960s the sounds of South Asian instruments, especially the sitar, influenced a number of rock performers. George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles, studied the sitar and played the instrument on several songs, beginning with “Norwegian Wood” (1965).
In the early 21st century Shankar’s daughter Anoushka became a prominent sitar player who joined with musicians from around the world to perform and record original music based on Hindustani principles.
We at the Raaga School of Music in San Jose are deeply committed to continuing this rich cultural tradition to inspire the next generation of Sitar Maestros right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
SCHEDULE A TRIAL CLASS
We are a very open learning environment. Please stop by to talk to one of our faculty about Carnatic and Hindustani Music, the History, the Instruments and the Teaching Methods we use to inspire our students to continue this rich musical and cultural tradition. Come by for our OPEN HOUSE on August 19th th from 1-3:30 pm at the school or schedule a trial class. Please feel free to call us at +1.408.833.6124 or email us at raagaSchool@gmail.com