Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Like a Violin... But Not

This morning we had a performance by Naviin Gandharv, who plays an instrument called a belabahaarr – invented by his father, it is a cross between a violin and a sitar, and it is the only one of it’s kind. Because of its similarities with a violin, it is much easier to play than an actual sitar. It is the same relative size and shape as a violin, with the top of the body made of goatskin and with much smaller resonating holes – this makes the sound much softer. There are five main strings that can all be played, and 22 much smaller ones that stretch across the body under the bridge and are not played, but resonate with the rest of the instrument. He and a man playing the tabla – Indian drums – performed for almost two hours. Afterwards, I was allowed to try out the belabahaarr. Very awesome.

Playing the belabahaarr.
The lecture that we had after that was from Anjum Rajabali, a professor of screenwriting. His insight into the screenwriting field in general was fascinating, and he was definitely the most animated and articulate person we have yet heard speak. He talked for quite a while on screenwriting, as well as ranting about Syd Field, which made me laugh, cause I’m not the biggest Syd Field fan either. I’d write more about it, but I’m tired, and I have notes already. So sleep now.


  1. How close were the strings on the instrument you tried? Do you double stop? Or do you need very thin fingers?

  2. It was basically just like a violin, just tuned way differently. And I do have really skinny fingers, so I guess? Ask Itzhak.