Vichitra Veena Miraj

The vichitra veena is a fascinating ancient plucked instrument at the brink of extinction. It has a deep, meditative sound and is played with a slide.

EU: on request
incl. VAT, plus € shipping within Germany / € within Europe
Non-EU: on request
plus € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

Our vichitra veena Miraj has a medium quality standard, good for beginners, but not suitable for professional requirements. We do not always keep vichitra veenas in our store, but we are ready to order them any time upon request.

The pictures show an older type of vichitra veena, not the model currently available from our supplier Paloma.

Features

Dark stained toon wood, polished shellac surfaces, four melody strings, two drone strings, two chikari strings, 13 sympathetic strings, two removable gourd resonators with carved decoration, detachable swan's head at the tailpiece, horn bridges, inlays made of celluloid with colored engravings, carved dragon head on the pegbox, including polished stone for sliding melody articulation.

General Info

The vichitra veena has two big gourds for resonators. Neck and body are merged into one long fretless hollow wooden corpus with a body and a top. Sympathetic strings add overtones and sustain to the sound. For playing the vichitra veena is simply placed on the floor in front of the player. The pitch is modulated by moving a smoothly polished stone back and forth along the playing strings - similar to the technique of the slide guitar. The melody strings are plucked with wire plectrums worn on index and middle finger, and the drone string with his little finger.

The angle at which the bridge surface (jowari) has been sanded down has great influence on the sound of every vichitra veena. If the curvature of the surface permits strong partial vibrations of the string on the bridge, a buzzing sound rich in overtones is created, which is called an open Jowari. Ravi Shankar made this sound popular and Westerners often feel that this is the typical sound of an Indian string instrument. A so-called closed Jowari, however, creates less overtones and the sound is clear, pithy and singing. Most Indian musicians prefer this sound today. If played regularly and intensely, the strings dig grooves into the surface of the bridges in course of time, due to abrasion, and thus change the relative openess or closedness of the jowaris. If sanded down later in a specific manner, the original sound can be restored or the instrument can be adjusted to a different sound.

The choice of strings and pitch have a great influence on the sound of the instrument, too. Since vichitra veenas are not standardised, there is ample scope for experimentation.

Manufacturer / Supplier

Our vichitra veenas are supplied by our partner Paloma. They are made by traditional craftsmen in Miraj, a town in the Southern part of the Indian state Maharashtra. Miraj has a long tradition of musical instruments manufacture and is especially famous for string instruments with gourd resonators like tanpuras, sitars, rudra veenas and vichitra veenas.

PALOMA is the international brand name for instruments made by Haribhau Vishwanath from Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Haribhau Vishwanath was founded in 1925 as a small repair business and developed into one of the leading Indian harmonium manufacturers in the course of decades. In addition, Haribhau Vishwanath makes shrutiboxes, santoors, swarmandals and some drums. Haribhau Vishwanath is also an active musical instrument trader and supplies us with some rarely demanded instruments where a direct purchase from the manufacturer is not profitable. Thanks to his good infrastructure and long experience with instrument manufacturing, trading and international shipping, Haribhau currently supplies all common harmonium models and many other instruments constantly in a high quality regarding workmanship. In addition, he excels through attractive innovations, like e.g. the harmonium Compactina or a particular silk-mat finish. Haribhau Vishwanath is a partner of India Instruments since 2005. Today the company is run by Ashish Diwane.

Tuning

Vichitra veenas are not standardised, therefore the following tuning chart is just meant as a suggestion for rough orientation. Tuning depends upon number of strings, diapason, gauge and material of strings and the desired sound quality.

tl_files/instruments/stringinst/vichitra-vina/vichitra-vina-tuning.JPG

Size

Measure: length 137 cm, neck width 10 cm, gourd width 43 cm, height from ground to string level 47 cm, weight: .. kg
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.