Jamming out on Electronic Traditional Indian Instruments

Music Technology
Jamming out on Electronic Traditional Indian Instruments

There are plenty of electronic instruments for musicians to play, but the vast majority of them are tuned to Western scales. In traditional Indian music such as Hindustani, Carnatic, Folk, Bhajan, Light Music, Ghazal & Dance, different tunings, often on the microtonal level, are required. I could spend a whole article on how tuning systems are largely socially constructed, but I’ll introduce you to the instruments of Sound Labs instead.

Having found a need for compact, electric instruments that mimic the sounds of traditional Indian instruments such as the Tabla, Tanpura, Lehera, and Shruti, Sound Labs, located in the Kasauli hills of the Himalayas, developed these devices that are not only compact, but capable of alternate tunings, and true to the sound of the original instruments. Many performers use them for performance in addition to practice. Many of the units also pack multiple instruments into one package. Check out the video below to see their Raagini Digital in action.

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

View more articles by Michael Colombo


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