Help with tuning violin to G shruti (5 kattai)

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#1 Help with tuning violin to G shruti (5 kattai)

Post by student-rasika » 22 Mar 2018, 08:22

Namaskaram -- I am an amateur Carnatic violinist, and for a concert I'm playing at next month I need to tune my violin to G shruti (5 kattai). I usually keep my violin between C# and E (Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa) tuning, and I'm a little confused about what to do. If I keep my S-P-S-P tuning, I'm sure the strings will snap if I tune all the strings up to G shruti.

One workaround I've figured out is that if I do a Pa-Sa-Pa-Sa tuning, I can tune to G, but I have to mostly play on the lower octave, and it doesn't sound very nice to me.

I'm really confused by how so many violinists are able to accompany singers who sing at high shrutis! How do they do it? Is there a way I can play in G and in S-P-S-P tuning? Do I have to buy special strings (I live in the US)? Any guidance would be appreciated.
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#2 Re: Help with tuning violin to G shruti (5 kattai)

Post by SrinathK » 08 Apr 2018, 18:23

Get a new set of strings of thinner gauges, for the regular Karuna I used a 22 for G, 26 for D, 29 for A and the regular E. This is far more easily tunable than the regular set (which is actually surprisingly good from C# to E).

A low tension brand like the Pirastro Piranito or Dominants can also help, but with any string you need to let them 'break in' gradually over a week, so plan in advance. Don't use your regular set of strings for playing in G. Always use a separate set. If you have been using steel till now, use only steel.


Also your violin set up might be an issue. If you are in the US, you should not have any problems tuning your violin strings to these pitches - the instrument was designed to handle precisely this range. After all, concert pitch = 5 kattai on the lower 2 and 6 kattai on the upper 2 strings.

Check your bridge and how it's cut, check the nut, pegs, fine tuners, tailpiece and string height above the board from a good luthier in the vicinity.

If your violin is the issue (most student violins are terribly made), get a good one from guys like Fiddlerman. Why I say it is because a violin set up for lower pitches (male voices) won't work for high pitches, everything needs to be changed. Most violinists use at least 2 different violins set up exclusively for male and female voices.

As an example :
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