new ideas on veenai innovation needed part 2

Ideas and innovations in Indian classical music
Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#26

Post by Chandrashekar » 03 Dec 2009, 18:24

Nick, I think you're being a little too unassuming in describing yourself as a non-musician. From your varied posts you come across as one of those "Chupa Rustams" who are probably brimming with all kinds of talents and abilities :-)
Uday Shankar wrote:But the problem statement I made is different: with normal "just" intonation rules, the interval between S-R2 (9/8) is slightly higher than the interval between P-D2 (10/9), unlike the guitar which is equally tempered.


Oh, I see now. Uday, I probably didn't read your comments properly earlier, but I get exactly what you mean now. But then, we don't necessarily play every note on its own fret, do we? When I play Saveri, for example, I play practically all the Ri notes on the Sa fret (and Dha on Pa). On the first string, I play the Madhya sthayi Ri by using the part of the string behind the meru (and similarly for Mandra Dha on second string). Well, anyway, it's all a trade off, isn't it? A lot of Western musicians absolutely hate their even-tempered scale, but what can they do? They need it to get their harmonies properly.

The Sitar does have an advantage in this matter. What do you think of the idea of tuning the first string of the Veena to Mandra Pa? I made a few observations on this, but would like to have your views.
Uday Shankar wrote: It's part of the nonsensical "Indian tradition" of division of labor between armchair theorists and workmen. "Upper" class Indians cannot even turn a screwdriver or hammer a nail, leave alone work with wood. In contrast, any westerner who has theories also works with his hands. Solution - we have learn to use the tools and materials ourselves!


Wow! That is uncanny. It is exactly what I myself have been complaining about to others in different contexts. Our engineers do armchair theorising with no practical understanding or skills to demonstrate or try out anything, our technicians take a mindless "monkey see, monkey do" kind of approach to work with no conceptual knowledge, and never the twain shall meet, and neither of them can command the respect of the other, which explains why we remain so backward technologically, by and large.

I also complain that so many new training institutes are being opened newly for teaching software even in rural areas, and nothing is being done to impart training in useful hands-on skills with tools, when we have such a shortage of skilled and knowledgeable electricians, mechanics, plumbers and so on. We assume we are doing students a favour by seating them all in front of computers, and we never stop to think about the students' aptitudes or interests; of whether some of them would prefer to work with their hands on other things. The result is that today we cannot find many competent electricians, plumbers, woodworkers, technicians, etc. that can do a good job, simply because we have neglected these things.

Luckily for me we have had a business in the family that involved manufacturing, and all my childhood summer holidays were spent playing with drills and lathes and other stuff, so I've grown to enjoy working with my hands and also have acquired a lot of tools that I use all the time.

But some jobs require very specialised tools and materials, which are not really worth acquiring just for a one-off job, nor would it have been convenient to use such things in my residence, I wasn't clear about usage of some of the materials as I hadn't used them before, and so on, so I thought I'd go to the "experts" on that occasion, which turned out to be a mistake. Yes, nothing like doing things oneself and gaining additional knowledge and skills even from mistakes.
Last edited by Chandrashekar on 03 Dec 2009, 19:05, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

uday_shankar
Posts: 1388
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 08:37
x 45
x 95

#27

Post by uday_shankar » 03 Dec 2009, 20:40

Chandrashekar, agree with practically everything you say... sitar Ma tuning (and thus playing the whole kriti on a single string, thus side-stepping fretting issues), promoting hands-on skills training instead of clerical (which is what computer training is) training, machine shop hobbies, etc...

In fact I'm beginning to suspect you're just me under an alias :). After you're finished I'll have nothing else to say!

Kidding aside, perhaps we can meet sometime and exchange ideas (mostly me tapping into your brain) on design, tools, fabrication, etc...
0 x

Nick H
Posts: 8791
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03
x 476
x 233

#28

Post by Nick H » 04 Dec 2009, 00:27

What interesting points! Chandrashekar, I cannot sing a western scale accurately, let alone any raga...

The sociological comments go a long way in illuminating what I, as a foreigner living in India, see, but do not always understand. We have an electrician who, sadly, is usually too busy to come and do small jobs for us. To begin with, it is unusual that he speaks perfect English. We were astonished, recently, to learn that he has a B.Com --- but much prefers to work with his hands than at an office desk. But the system works against him then, as families don't donsider him a suitable prospect. Complex thing, this Indian society...
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#29

Post by Chandrashekar » 04 Dec 2009, 08:27

Uday, now you're being modest! Are you planning to visit Bangalore? Sure we could meet up. Perhaps we should not treat this forum as a private chat room, so you could write to my email, [email protected]

Nick, please don't get me started on the "Indian society" thing. We Indians have well and truly messed up (though many of us live in complete denial of that fact), and I wouldn't know where to stop if I started off on that, which would not be good for this forum. So, perhaps we should confine ourselves to music and related stuff here. But feel free to email me for discussions on other things :-)
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#30

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 04 Dec 2009, 17:58

Sri Chandrashekhar:
The Sunadavinodini has undergone many many iterations since then - including the response of our own staff who will now hand you a nice pair of 'midrapu' and a small tiny jar of vaseline! Seriously, you should see and try it now.
The digital veena too has undergone changes and is a real pleasure to play. I would be happy if we could meet some time - not just to discuss these but also- the isssue of 'us Indians not working with our hands' - it's a pet peeve in our family along with a whole lot more --I don't want to start, lest I am unable to stop the rant! :)
Srikant - do you mean 'gamakam' when you say 'bending of strings'? The digital veena is designed to be played like a regular veena, so gamakams can be played very comfortably. I can even play (pull) 9 notes on 1 fret with the facility of the digital veena. :)
On another note, yes there is a crying need for a scientific approach to the manufacture of acoustic instruments. But who will address the egos and hide-bound ideas of the traditional artisans? And some musicians? Attitudes must change and minds must open for us to move forward. There ARE solutions to some of the problems in acoustic instruments, although not all, that can be overcome through proper scientific analysis.
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#31

Post by Chandrashekar » 05 Dec 2009, 11:33

Radhikaji, I'm sure your instruments would have improved a lot since that time. I would definitely like to get to see your latest digital Veena. I remember that decades ago, when I first read about these innovations/inventions by Sri Rajnarayan, I was thinking how wonderful it was that someone could combine their expertise in Indian music and electronics in this useful way and take the bold step of quitting a (much coveted) "government job" and going into business in an environment that was hardly conducive to business, especially in those days. I think Radel has achieved quite a lot under the circumstances, but perhaps I should not write too much on this since people may take me for a salesman from Radel or even you writing under an alias :-)

"midrapu": is that the word for those things? I know them as "naLi" in Tamil (or is that in Malayalam?), and the Sitar's one as "mizraab". These naLis used to be made of thick silver wire a long time ago. Not sure if you've seen that type. They feel very stiff and not very comfortable when worn, pinching the fingers. My parents used to use them, and we still have a few lying around somewhere, but I much prefer the flexible ones made of ordinary metal wire.

You said: "I can even play (pull) 9 notes on 1 fret with the facility of the digital veena."

I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing to say from a psychological point of view. In fact, I made a vague mention of some "reservations" I had in an earlier post, and many of those were about perceptions. I am thinking from a marketing point of view.

Here are some points to ponder:
In what way should we project a musical instrument? Hard to play, or easy to play?
How do we want the customer to perceive the product? The primary customer (in this case, the player)? The secondary customer (the rasika)?
Is it good to state or imply that something is easy to do? Or for the user to find out that it is easy?
"Easy" is a double-edged sword that also means "no challenge". Does the musician want to feel (or to find out) that there is no challenge to the instrument?
Is that how he is going to feel after trying the instrument, and once the novelty of producing these effects so easily wears off?
How do you ensure that the musician is not faced with this problem of "no challenge"? Or the audience, either?
How can you prevent the audiences from thinking, "this instrument is supposed to be easy to play and anyone can play it, so what's the big deal?"
One looks at a sitarist producing a series of notes flawlessly and at high speed on just one fret, and cannot help feeling impressed. That's because one already perceives that that thing is not easy to do on the Sitar, even without trying it out. But what would happen if the perception were that this is very easy to do?

You might find it worthwhile addressing these things and more :-)
Last edited by Chandrashekar on 05 Dec 2009, 14:34, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Nick H
Posts: 8791
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03
x 476
x 233

#32

Post by Nick H » 05 Dec 2009, 15:29

Whilst there may be many tabla players who fit your picture, the masters do not, and, again, we must blame the "show" producers if the musicians are mismatched. This can happen, even when these displays are organised by one of the musicians; Southern or Northern; skilled artist does not necessarily mean that they have the knack of producing these programs.

About the difficulty of playing the instrument, my feeling is that this should be minimised. It is the music itself that is the ultimate challenge.

Slightly pertinent is the story I heard from my teacher of the thavil artist that accepted a challenge to learn mridangam in one month. We students were open mouthed, but our teacher explained: it is understanding the music that is the hard part, and that he knew already. Simply learning the fingering of a new instrument was not so hard for him.

Electronics have not made real music easier to play, although many are fooled into thinking that they have. In some ways, they are harder, as the artificial sound of many of them has to be overcome. How horrible the drum machine sounds in the hands of many of its players!
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#33

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 05 Dec 2009, 16:01

Si Chandrashekhar:
"but perhaps I should not write too much on this since people may take me for a salesman from Radel or even you writing under an alias :-)" - that is a good one! :)
""midrapu": is that the word for those things? I know them as "naLi" in Tamil (or is that in Malayalam?), and the Sitar's one as "mizraab". These naLis used to be made of thick silver wire a long time ago. Not sure if you've seen that type. They feel very stiff and not very comfortable when worn, pinching the fingers. My parents used to use them, and we still have a few lying around somewhere, but I much prefer the flexible ones made of ordinary metal wire."
Just an alternate word - nali (or neli) is used too. It's not bad, the silver one. I have just one (I use to pluck the talam strings on digiveena - can't use bare nail, not a conductor) - gifted to me by Smt Saraswati (not my teacher, but Mrs R Vishweshwaran). It's a precious gift and I look at it as a blessing.

"In what way should we project a musical instrument? Hard to play, or easy to play?"
No, no - I said that it is 'comfortable to play gamakam', not 'easy'. 'Comfortable ' because it is not physically hard to pull the string.! It's literally painful for the ARM to try and do this. And try it at 5-kattai? The string will break too! :D

The DIFFICULTY of achieving precision of those 9 notes on a single fret still remains and challenges your artistry. So you still nedd to practise to get that precision. The digital veena only alleviates the irritants and hurdles, so that you can play without these constant niggles.

You still have to practise and get your fingers to move freely, still have to practise to get your instincts to react in time to reach the eduppu, still have to practise, hear, think and meditate to create beautiful music!

As Nick puts it so rightly: "Electronics have not made real music easier to play, although many are fooled into thinking that they have."

I have to point out here that many people think that an electronic instrument is not 'real'. Every instrument including a distortion guitar is real! Ultimately the only thing that matters is the real music that is created, as Nick puts it.
To another point made by Nick - Yes, a drum machine sounds awful in the wrong hands. So does an electric violin! Or an acoustic mridangam, or an acoustic veena. The difference is, the electronic ones are amplified , so the bad playing is heard by everyone!!
So in a way, isn't it good to have amplification that shows up your tiniest mistakes, so you can correct it in time (BEFORE everyone else hears it)? Like a magnifying mirror showing you the beginning of a tiny pimple on your face?
Last edited by Radhika-Rajnarayan on 05 Dec 2009, 16:03, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Nick H
Posts: 8791
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03
x 476
x 233

#34

Post by Nick H » 05 Dec 2009, 19:27

Oh! If only there were a few sales people with your depth of knowledge and understanding! :)
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#35

Post by Chandrashekar » 05 Dec 2009, 19:32

Nick, Radhikaji, actually Nick illustrates the point I was trying to make, by saying:

"Electronics have not made real music easier to play, although many are fooled into thinking that they have."

This is exactly my point: fact versus perception. Notice how many times I have used the word "perception" in my post. That's because, in the real world, perceptions can count for more than facts, and I'm looking at the issue from a marketing angle where this particular point is all important.

Marketers give the highest priority to understanding perceptions, changing perceptions, and creating perceptions. Look at the ads in the media, for example the TV. How many of them mention real facts about the product, like technical details, measurements, etc? Probably none. The ads are designed to target your emotions, using fancy "power words" etc., with little or no factual basis. They are all about perceptions.

To take an example: there is a common model of pressure cooker used in the kitchen, in which the lid locks from the outside. There is another model in which the lid locks from the inside: you insert the lid through the top and then turn it by 90 degrees to close and lock it.

From my own experience, because I enjoy cooking, the second cooker design is vastly superior to the first one. Vastly. Yet one common perception is that the first one is good, and the average person "perceives" the second one as "difficult to close" or something. I have seen people struggling with the lid of the second one, when I am sure a new-born monkey could be trained in no time to close it. Those people have conditioned themselves to believe that closing that lid requires divine assistance.

All this is because of clever and persistent advertising from the first model, all emotionally based and devoid of facts, leading to positive but wrong perceptions, and poor advertising from the second, creating a poor perception, or no perception at all, of the second product.

In fact, the first one has a serious problem of leaking steam, wasted fuel, longer cooking time, and expensive gaskets requiring frequent replacement. But they cleverly marketed it as a very safe cooker: after all, naturally the cooker is safer if the pressure will not build up or if it has many different paths for the steam to leak out from, isn't it? They managed to sell a defect as an advantage. They put the fear of death into you, and used emotional blackmail (in slightly different words, of course): "If you don't want to see your dear wife dead, buy this one. Do the right thing by your family. Don't let your family down." So, when people think of cookers, it is the first model that readily comes to mind.

I was just wondering if you had given any thought to how you are presenting this product and what perceptions are being created, since it is a new product. Sure, you said comfortable. But if the listeners thought you meant easy, well, that is what you said :-) When it comes to perceptions vs facts, perceptions usually win.
0 x

Nick H
Posts: 8791
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03
x 476
x 233

#36

Post by Nick H » 05 Dec 2009, 20:12

Electronics do not make one able to play music any more than graphics software makes one able to draw --- I've learnt both of these from real experience! Also, when I am researching any gadget purchase, I look to see if the manual is available for download: unlike the brochures, the manual often makes clear what can and can't be done.

I was reading notes from a seminar given by an acoustic scientist the other day (on an Indian hifi forum; there is a forum for everything these days :)), and the acknowledgement of the effect of our mind on what we think we hear was interesting. Perceptions win, as you say. Maybe science will yet prove that we do, in fact, live in a world of illusion!

(but even if we do, it is the only world we've got!)
0 x

baradu2
Posts: 34
Joined: 28 Jun 2009, 09:37

#37

Post by baradu2 » 15 Dec 2009, 11:06

radhika madam, uday uncle :), nick sir, chandrashekar sir, and viewers all :) (i am very sorry if i have ,missed out on names)
i did try out the radel veena (sunadhavinodhini) its simply super!
i wanna mention few things i felt
i tried out a 4 year old one which my friend has and also went to the showroom and tried the new one.
things i noticed were (hope you wont mind my being very frank madam! :)
1 the tonal quality of the old one was much better!
2 the switches which were jutting out in the old veena were solved in the new ones which was really great.
3 the yazhi or yazh in my opinion is an extra burden and without it the veena seems lighter. but the concept of using the yazh as a place to keep working tools and dusting cloth is extremely nice and very innovative. (i have a set of tools seperate for veena in a seperate pouch and i dont use them for anything else!)
4 the ampli-speaker tone got affected in the older veena when the shrithi box was used. the anthara gandharam when played with the veena's shruthi box sounded little higher or out of tune. same thing happened with panchamam. so i used the normal radel tanpura and easwar tanpura instead of the one provided in the veena. may be its a defect in that particular veena's shruthi box. i might be wrong. but this did not happen in the new veena! which was again great.

now my question,
1 will it be possible to make just the fret board first , then shape the veena according to the fret board?
2 will it be possible to make sitar type curved meru, sitar type curved frets and sitar type curved bridge?
3 wht is the diff between piezoelectric and magnetic pickups? i know for accoustic and magnetic.


i happened to visit this site on guitar fretting. its very interesting. please let me know ur opinion.
the site is called www.projectguitar.com and the whole procedure of making a guitar is explained beautifully in such a manner that a lay man like me, ignorant about making or playing the guitar will be able to make it.
why not we do the same for veena and sitar?
link
http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/tutorial9.htm

in the same site, fretting is explained n the easiest manner possible!
link
http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/fretting.htm
Last edited by baradu2 on 15 Dec 2009, 14:26, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

baradu2
Posts: 34
Joined: 28 Jun 2009, 09:37

#38

Post by baradu2 » 15 Dec 2009, 13:27

on second thought y cant we have a website to veena making and sitar making. if there is one for guitar then y not for veena or sitar?
Last edited by baradu2 on 15 Dec 2009, 14:27, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#39

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 15 Dec 2009, 17:38

Baradu,
If you are referring to an acoustic veena when you say ' will it be possible to make just the fret board first , then shape the veena according to the fret board?
2 will it be possible to make sitar type curved meru, sitar type curved frets and sitar type curved bridge?'

I cannot speak for acoustic veena manufacturers.
However I can tell you one thing - the distance between the frets and the bridge would have a particular value which probably can't be changed too much.
The curved meru ---etc, you'll have to try and get the users to accept it!!
:D
0 x

baradu2
Posts: 34
Joined: 28 Jun 2009, 09:37

#40

Post by baradu2 » 15 Dec 2009, 17:47

mam yes, that is for acoustic veena,
but how bout sitar type curved frets?
and lastly,
a website on veena making? u saw the one on guitar?
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#41

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 16 Dec 2009, 10:26

Baradu - As I said, curved frets and curved bridge would probably involve a LITTLE bit of adjustment to the playing technique - would people be interested in that?
There are many websites, not only on guitar making, but on violin making, guitar strings, and so many other issues, for Western music.
You can have a website for this. Of course it involves designing, maintenance, hosting, admin etc for which you need competent people to volunteer.
Then you need the traditional artisans to participate to make it meaningful. You also need the end-users (students, teachers, performers of veena) to participate.
And, like the rasikas forum, you may need moderators too.
If all these can be arranged, the website will become a reality.
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#42

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 16 Dec 2009, 10:36

Baradu - regarding your feedback on the old electronic veena - all comments are more than welcome - we thirst for them!! I inadvertently omitted to answer them.
I think that rather than the built-in TAMBURA in the old e-veena, it may have been the fret position. I prefer to be accurate in using the terms 'sruti-box' and 'tambura', by the way, rather than the popular term 'electronic sruti-box'. I would normally use the term 'sruti box' for the instrument producing a drone type sound (whether electronic / acoustic) and 'tambura / tanpura' for the instrument producing the plucked string sound ( whether electronic / acoustic).
Thanks for all your comments - we will keep our efforts going to continuously improve it.
I will send you forum email to get more details about this e-veena to find out whether it had a defect.
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#43

Post by Chandrashekar » 17 Dec 2009, 10:40

baradu wrote:... the yazhi or yazh in my opinion is an extra burden and without it the veena seems lighter. but the concept of using the yazh as a place to keep working tools and dusting cloth is extremely nice and very innovative...
Baradu, nice to read about your experience with the instrument. I haven't yet got to see it with the new storage space design.

Here are some pictures of the storage space on the yazh of my own Veenai. This Veenai was made to order by my parents in Kollam (Quilon), Kerala, in 1958/59; i.e., it is about 50 years old. How does the Radel box design compare with it?

(I am removing the pictures that I had originally posted, since this design is apparently quite common.)

I think the factor of aesthetic appeal must not be overlooked by any innovator. The very look of musical instruments must appeal to the heart, and not just to the head. There is no real pleasure at an emotional level from playing an instrument, however great the features it has, if it is going to look like a piece of laboratory equipment, like a sonometer or something, or like a work in progress. Also, appearance parts must never be compromised by using tacky materials.

Have a look at this iPod dock: the design, the finish, the simplicity and elegance of controls, etc., all add up to creating enormous emotional appeal. You are tempted to buy products like these just for their sheer beauty, even if you are not going to use them.

[img=Teac iPod dock]http://lh3.ggpht.com/_lRyCvjyial4/Sym6k ... 00x400.jpg[/img]
Last edited by Chandrashekar on 18 Dec 2009, 11:29, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#44

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 17 Dec 2009, 16:31

Sri Chandrashekar,
The design you have shown in the photos is the standard design on every veena since decades (centuries??). Every single veena has the storage box in the same manner, and the Yali with the ivory teeth too.
The storage box in the Radel veena has been there right from the beginning. Perhaps you did not notice it, and thought it was jsut a decoration.
Regarding the aesthetic design - again, I beg to differ from you in your perception of aesthetically acceptable.
The tanjore veena and others were designed in a particular century, with certain aesthetic values and design concepts, whether it was textiles, architecture, painting or any other craft. Those concepts should change over time.
A simplified but elegant design, is what we have endeavoured to achieve in the Radel veena.
You have shown the Apple I pod dock. See how simple it is, and you are able to appreciate that. You do not demand that it should be in the elaborate European baroque style, or the Regency style, do you?
Then why do our vainikas demand that the electronic veena should look exactly like the acoustic veena, that too the veena where no one dares change the exterior appearance?
As long as a visual object is elegantly designed and pleases the eye, and in the case of a musical instrument, pleases the ear with the sound, it should be accepted, if the rasika is a true rasika.
Last edited by Radhika-Rajnarayan on 17 Dec 2009, 16:40, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#45

Post by Chandrashekar » 17 Dec 2009, 18:40

Radhikaji, you are preaching to the choir :-)

Actually I have never questioned design changes per se. I was just making a general statement that any designer must also keep aesthetics in mind, and not simply functionality. This was with reference to the topic of this thread regarding innovation. I mentioned the veena design just as an example, and not as the standard to be followed for future designs.

I posted those pics because I wasn't sure what baradu was referring to regarding innovative design. I remember vaguely that when I tried out the Sunadavinodini years ago, it had some kind of dark coloured circular box attached to the end; I never really looked closely at that part.

By the way, I think that to say "every single veena" is a bit of an exaggeration. In all the veenas I have myself come across, that part has simply been left open, with no cover; I have seen lots with wooden teeth cut out of the body material, and some with teeth of white plastic; veenas with the look and feel of Bhima's mace; brand new veenas with cracks on the body because of poor quality wood; veenas with cheap and tacky paper/plastic designs pasted/nailed along the edges, and so on. I don't think there is all that much "standard" in veena designs, other than the general shape and the numbers of frets and strings.

I do admire Radel for all the innovative products you have brought about (and for setting the standards for others to copy, as stated by an ad that I read somewhere for some product). Will be glad to have a look at the new design. I am intrigued after reading all these reports :-)

Actually, I too have for long been very interested in coming up with other elegant and portable designs for the veena. I had a go at some hybrid designs a long time ago (out of desperation because safe transportation was getting to be a real problem), but for some reason I did not persist with it. But I am still all for it.

There is no reason to call these other instruments the veena. One can always attach qualifier words, as with Chitra veena and Mohan veena, or even give it an entirely new name; one which is catchy and emotionally appealing. As I mentioned before, my experience has been that when I would put down one instrument and pick up another one of a different style and belonging to a different category, I would undergo a mental "state change", and simply accept that there is something different, rather than think there is something wrong. (I think I earlier gave the example of the Maggi ad: "It's different".)

I'd say form and function are the most important things (somewhat like Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead). Everything should have a purpose. No additions/changes just for the sake of additions/changes. There is beauty in simplicity too, as with that iPod dock. We've all heard of "less is more". Pleasing to both eye and ear, and also to the hands, is what I too would say. There could be many ways of achieving that.

Regarding objections from other rasikas, that could come mainly from resistance to change. To generate greater acceptance, you may just need more and more exposure to create more familiarity. This could be managed through public performances by yourself or by other existing instrumentalists/vainikas, through lec-dems (for example, a general lec-dem series on "appreciation/understanding of carnatic music" where you demonstrate the points using these new instruments), good videos posted on media like youtube, etc. People love to watch kids perform (especially those with cute smiles;-), so you could have talented kids performing on the instrument. How about jugalbandi/group performance with veena/new instrument/other instruments? You could organise a veena competition where the winner could get a free Radel instrument and of course play it on stage at the time of the event (that would certainly attract a lot of interest). And so on. It all depends on budget, human resources, and things like that.

You said: As long as a visual object is elegantly designed and pleases the eye, and in the case of a musical instrument, pleases the ear with the sound, it should be accepted, if the rasika is a true rasika.

I would agree with you on this as impeccable logic. But at the same time, I would like to caution you that few marketing persons would actually advance such a logic to customers.

You would be much better off coming up with right-brain appeal. You need to appeal to emotions, not just to logic. (Logic is better left for industrial marketing.) Most of the logical aspects here that are related to specifications will be "necessary but not sufficient".

There is an emotional involvement with the veena as a divine instrument in the hands of goddess Saraswati. You cannot tackle that with logic.

It is one thing for a person to say he is playing saraswati's instrument, and quite another to say he is playing something else that has no past history / mythological significance. And the same goes for the listener too.

The "if a=b and b=c, then a=c" type of reasoning is perfectly correct distributive logic, but does nothing for the prospective customer. I would even say that making such a statement would be counter-productive. People don't want to be told how to think or act; told that they are wrong.

A good marketer never "sells"; rather, he lets his customers "buy". His strategy is to let his customers feel they are the ones making the buying decision, by creating exposure, increasing familiarity, identifying and eliminating other barriers to acceptance, and cleverly guiding them in such a way that they themselves get to realize the good points of the product without just being told so.
0 x

girish_a
Posts: 405
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 13:33
x 3
x 15

#46

Post by girish_a » 17 Dec 2009, 18:58

Here is an article by Om Malik, popular tech blogger, which compares Apple's products with the Taj Mahal. I'm posting the link here because it talks about a similar topic:

http://gigaom.com/2009/02/19/what-the-t ... in-common/
0 x

Radhika-Rajnarayan
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:18
x 1

#47

Post by Radhika-Rajnarayan » 18 Dec 2009, 10:05

Chandrashekar-
"To generate greater acceptance, you may just need more and more exposure to create more familiarity. This could be managed through public performances by yourself or by other existing instrumentalists/vainikas, through lec-dems (for example, a general lec-dem series on "appreciation/understanding of carnatic music" where you demonstrate the points using these new instruments), good videos posted on media like youtube, etc."
Yes indeed, we have done those - a veena festival in 2003 in Chennai - Jeyaraaj-Jaysri played as well as Iyer Bros, Mudikondan Ramesh etc, and another in Bangalore wher Jayanthi Kumaresh and others played - each fest had 4 electronic veena concerts.
Of course I myself always play on the electronic veena on DD as well as AIR apart from the (extremely rare!) concert.
Then we have had others who have used our veena for concerts initially and later purchased - Jayashree Mahesh, Nirmala Rajasekar etc.
There was an ETV programme with an ensemble of electronic veenas on ViIjayadasami day - you can see the photo on our website. It was several years ago, before youtube became popular.
There are videos on youtube, too.
And we have had kids performing on the electronic veena.
We have done this exercise and several others, with other instruments also.
All of these have been regularly reported in our newsletter which can also be seen online on our website.
In other words, 'been there, done that'!!
They do give results, I do not deny it- although painfully slow. As marketing tools, we have tried many formats. Perhaps any other person in this line would have given it up long ago as 'not a viable business proposition'!!
I am only presenting my point of view on the forum, as a logical point of argument, rather than any effort at marketing - I know only too well that no amount of theoretical (or even practical) logic works with the user. I also know from experience that any new product in this line takes at least a year or two to be accepted by the user.
My points are only from the view of logic and counter arguments, between forumites!! Specially my statement: "As long as a visual object is elegantly designed and pleases the eye, and in the case of a musical instrument, pleases the ear with the sound, it should be accepted, if the rasika is a true rasika."

Somehow, I have hardly ever seen acoustic veenas with just an opening in the place of the 'tool-box', or those wooden teeth for yali etc. This is where I feel our artisans should come up with new modern and aesthetic contemporary design ideas. Something pleasing, functional and yet possible to design and produce today. Why desperately try to imitate the yali if we cannot make it right?
And the statement about 'Saraswati's instrument' -hmmmmm- no comment, lest I invite another lecture on marketing techniques!! :)
No offence meant!
Look forward to meeting you some time.
Last edited by Radhika-Rajnarayan on 18 Dec 2009, 10:06, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Chandrashekar
Posts: 34
Joined: 01 Dec 2009, 14:28

#48

Post by Chandrashekar » 18 Dec 2009, 11:24

Girish, interesting blog. By a strange coincidence, I am planning a visit (my third, actually) to Agra some time in January, along with a couple of friends.

Radhikaji, okay, no more marketing lectures:-) In any case, one really needs to conduct market research and analyse the results, and assumptions don't help in any way.

I haven't seen your newsletter, and will have a look. Look forward to meeting you too, and also getting the opportunity to learn about the merits of your electronic veena first hand.

Regarding artisans coming up with design ideas, I'm not sure they are the right people for that. First of all, I don't know how many of them even play the instrument, and, secondly, this is just a job for many of them, and not a passion. Also, they will have to spend (and also waste) their own time, money and materials for these things, and then show to whom? Sell to whom? And if it is successful, some competitor will steal their ideas and sell the products cheaper as they require no investment in R&D, market development, etc. (you've seen that too, haven't you?)! The environment here is hardly conducive to such things.

In any case, I think it is the artistes who should come up with such design ideas. They are the ones who would feel the need, anyway.
0 x

thanjavooran
Posts: 2443
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 04:44
x 135
x 38

#49 Re: new ideas on veenai innovation needed part 2

Post by thanjavooran » 12 Jan 2011, 16:41

During 1976, Dr. Balaraman an I I T professor developed a fibre glass Vina which was first played by Vidwan Pichumani avl, accompanied by UKS with another fibre glass made mirudhangam by the same professor designed by UKS. For a lame rasika like me could not find any difference. The tuning was done using screw driver and spanner. Just curious to know whether these instruments are being used presently by any of the vidwans.

Thanjavooran 12 01 2011
0 x

sriram1974
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 Jun 2018, 07:49

#50 Re: new ideas on veenai innovation needed part 2

Post by sriram1974 » 24 Jun 2018, 11:23

thanjavooran wrote:
12 Jan 2011, 16:41
During 1976, Dr. Balaraman an I I T professor developed a fibre glass Vina which was first played by Vidwan Pichumani avl, accompanied by UKS with another fibre glass made mirudhangam by the same professor designed by UKS. For a lame rasika like me could not find any difference. The tuning was done using screw driver and spanner. Just curious to know whether these instruments are being used presently by any of the vidwans.

Thanjavooran 12 01 2011
Do we have a Fibre Glass Veena available in the market now-a-days? If yes, could someone provide me a web site or phone number for me to buy the same ?

Thanks
0 x

Post Reply