Place of Rudra Veena, In Indian Classical
4.1 History and Ancient glory of the instrument
Veena is the mother of all stringed instruments. In fact
according to Hindu
Myth, Rudra means Shanker or Shiva, the Greater of the
universe hence, the instrument is associated with him.
It in believed that shiva made the first Rudra Veena &
used his own intestines as strings of the same. Even Ravana
the demon who was a devotee of lord Shiva, is believed
to be a player of Rudra Veena & used it to, create
devotional music so as to please Shiva. There is a myth
about Ravana, who was playing Rudra Veena to please Shiva.
Lord Shiva was so engrossed with listening to the Sweet
sound, was enjoying the Same. But, while Ravana was playing
it, one of the Strings broke, yet he Continued to play
the remaining Strings, as he did not want Shiva to be
disturbed. Interestingly Ravana replaced the broken string
with his own nerve. This is how he respected Shiva by
maintaining peaceful & happy atmosphere.
Hindu literature also considers Rudra Veena as an instrument
played by gods & Goddess in heaven. It is believed,
that Shiva Passed on the art of music to Saraswati and
Saraswati gave that to Narada & Hanumantha, who brought
it on Earth. That is how man was able to learn the same.
A variety of Veenas, drums, pipes, gongs and bells are
shown is the ancient sculptures of Bharhut, Gandhara,
Amaravati, Sandhi, Nagaijuna konda, konark, the temples
of southern India and the frescoes and paintings of Ajantha,
Bagh Tanjavoer etc.
Structure of Rudra Veena
Rudra Veena consists of a bamboo fret board, about 26
inches long and two
and half inches wide, upon which are fixed 24 metalic
frets, one for each of four octaves. The fret is fixed
on the stem, by a resinous wax like substance. This fret
board is mounted on two large gourds, in about 54 inches
instrument has four main strings for playing, it also
has the side stings. The diagram given below depicts Rudra
Veena and its parts.
also known as Dandi
Pegs also known as Khunti
also known as Badak
Brass also known as pitali screw
Pumpkin also known as Bhopala or tumba.
Frets also known as Padade.
Mogra also known as Panja.
Kara also known as Kara only.
Main Bridge also known as Ghodi
Small Bridge left side also known as Davi Lahan ghodi
Small Bridge Right side also known as Lahan ghodi
Pumpkin also known as Bhopala, or tamba.
the Structure of Rudra Veena, Late Ustad Murad Khan, the
Guru of Late Krishnarao Kolhapure, revealed to that, Beens
structure is based on the concept of a peacocks body.
How the structure of Rudra Veena corresponds with that
of peacocks body can be well understood from the analogy
Sequence of Rudra Veena Strings
String Sequence Note or Swar Western Chord
Chikari Strings Sa ( Kali 2) D Sharp
Madhya Saptak ( Middle Scale )
Chikari Strings Sa (kali-2) D Sharp (Tar Saptak) (higher
Baj String or Ma (Madhya Saptak) F Chord
first string in (Middle Scale)
Second String Sa (Mandra Saptak) D Sharp
Third String Pa (Mandra Saptak) G (Lower Scale)
Fourth String Sa (Ati Mandra Saptak) D Sharp
Side String Sa (Kali 2) or D Sharp
(Tambora String) Mandra Saptak (Lower Scale)
the background of the structure and styles of Rudra Veena.
Let us now take lessons of Rundra Veena in ten Raghas
1. Yaman Ragh
2. Bhup Ragh
3. Brindavan Sarang Ragh
4. Bhageshree Ragh
5. Bihag Ragh -
(i) Dhandi or Bamboo Corresponds with the Central body
(ii) The Kara or bridge made up of ivory peacock, which
is on the right side, Corresponds with peacocks feathers.
(iii) The strings on the bamboo & the Is its Corresponds
with the stick like structures attached to every long
feather of the Peacock.
(iv) The seven Strings on right, left & middle one
pulses of the feathers.
This information was revealed to Late Krishnarao Kolhapure
a student of late ustad Murad Khan (his teacher) himself
about 70 years ago. Infact late ustad Murad Khan was requested
by the Balwant Sangeet mandali to teach Been to pt. Krishnarao
Sketch of Rudra Veena
How to Tune Rundra Veena.
Veena has seven Strings in all, and each String produces
a note or swar. The sequence of the same is given in table
Mal Kaunse Ragh
7. Puriya Kalyan Ragh
8. Darbari Kannada Ragh
9. Miya Malhar Ragh
10. Bhairavi Ragh
lesson are given in the appendix section of this book.
Masters of Sound and Silence
section of chapter four presents an account of the famous
Beenkars (Rundra Veena players), of India, Although, Rudra
Veena in an ancient instrument, and that its origin is
linked with shiva, there is not much information about
Rundra Veena per formers from pre-vedic & Vedic times.
However, records & reference of Rudra Veena Players
or Beenkars are available Since the reign of Mughals in
collected by the authors of this book, form the elderly
Beenkars in India, reveals that, most of them can trace
back the history from Veena players from Ustad Bande Ali
Khan (Beenkar). Ustad bande Ali Khan was originally from
North India & his birth date revealed in literature
is some where in 1830. He died in Pune & his grave
is under the new bridge apposite Shaniwar wada. Bande
Ali Khan was known for Playing dhrupad baj and Khayalia
baj on the Rudra Veena. Out of many, of his disciples
two were popular, namely ustad Murad Khan and Ustad Rajab
Ali Khan. The Specialty of ustad Murad Khan & Ustad
Rajab Ali Khan was that, besides being Beenkars, they
were great singers as well.
flow chart No. 4.2 given below directs some famous Rudra
Veena players & theirs disciples, starting fromUustad
Bande Ali Khans time.
Chart No. 4.2
Rudra Veena Players from 1855 to date Ustad Bande Ali
the above flow chart a brief account of the Beenkars &
their efforts to preserve and popularize Rudra Veena is
Late Ustad Bande Ali Khan (1830 to 27th July 1895 )
Beenkars of Pune always pay homage to Late Ustad bande
Ali Khan on Guru Pornima, by offering an incense stick,
flowers or at least touch grave. This ritual is done to
seek the blessing of Late Ustad bande Ali Khan. Ustad
Bande Ali Khan hailed from North India, born in 1830.
He belonged to the musician gharana of Hasan Khan. An
admirer and a lover of music. Khan Sahib took interest
in learning Been & mastered it. He got married to
the daughter of Late Haddukhan a famous vocalist during
Bande Ali Khan was very popular Been player during his
time. Being a court musician in Indore, he also performed
in most royal courts of North India. He even gave Rudra
Veena lessons to the son of Maharaja of Gwalior, Shri
Balwantrao Bhaiya. He also performed concerts in North