Veena is one of the various musical instruments in India. This musical instrument is also known as Saraswati Veena. It is basically a string instrument that was used to accompany Carnatic music or Hindustani music. The Veena music instrument gives an exotic melody that may help in curing people’s moods and is helpful in improving the psychological well-being of many.
Veena Instrument- 8 amazing facts and commonly asked questions
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- What is Veena?
- History of Veena Instrument
- What is Veena called in English?
- Difference between Veena and Sitar
- Is Veena difficult to learn?
- How old is Veena?
- Who is the best Veena instrument player?
- How can you learn Veena?
What is Veena?
A veena is a plucked string instrument that was originally created in South India. This actually belongs to the family of chordophone instruments of India. The veena in many parts of the country has different types which are Rudra Veena, Saraswati Veena and Vichitra Veena. Although in South India veena is widely used with Carnatic music but in North, India veena has been replaced with the Sitar.
This instrument can produce music in a wide range which is usually in the three-octave range. This musical instrument was also used to depict the Hindu goddess Saraswati who has veena in her hand.
The veena in south India has a peer shape, 24 frets and 3 strings for producing melodies. Unlike the lower gourd of Veena which is present in the Northern part of India the South Indian veena is peer-shaped.
History of Veena Instrument
The term Veena is derived from Sanskrit which became a popular term in ancient and medieval English literature. It has its mention in various Vedic literature including Rig Veda, Samaveda, Satapatha Brahmana, and Taittiriya Samhita. According to a famous music professor Sunnera Kasliwal, the musical instrument of Vana emerged into the term veena in the present times. This musical instrument was mentioned in the Upanishads, Rigveda as well as Atharva Veda. The Natya Shastra was written by Bharata Muni also discusses veena as a musical instrument.
What is Veena called in English?
Veena is basically a Sanskrit term but in contemporary times in English also this instrument is called a Veena only.
Difference between Veena and Sitar
Veena and Sitar are different from each other. Veena is usually used as an instrument in south India while Sitar is used in Hindustani Classical music which is from North India. The way they are made and played are different from each other. Sitar and Veena although look similar but are not the same.
Veena is known variedly like that of the Rudra Veena, Saraswati Veena and so on. The veena has a height of about four feet a resonator or Kudam and also a long neck that looks similar to that of a sitar. The veena was made up of seven strings which are all made of steel.
Sitar is basically a plucked string instrument that was created in the 13th century. This instrument has two bridges whereby there is a big bridge and a small bridge. Please go through this lesson on Sitar – the classical music instrument to learn all about Sitar.
The Veena and Sitar playing is also done in different sitting positions. While the veena is played by sitting cross-legged the sitar is played by keeping the instrument on the left foot and the right knee.
Veena is also considered to be a more ancient instrument than that of Sitar as Veena has always been mentioned in early mythological literature of India.
Is Veena difficult to learn?
Learning Veena is involved with a high level of synchronization and regular practices are also important. In learning Veena the middle and index finger is important in order to play this instrument. Also, learning Veena is difficult in the sense that being a string instrument it is time-taking to learn the basics of the classical musical notes. The time needed for learning the veena differs from one person to another.
Learning veena takes an effort to make a person’s ear used to various music and able to play the instrument listening to that music.
How old is Veena?
Veena is considered to be an ancient instrument that was even mentioned in our mythologies and Vedic literature like the Atharvaveda, Rig Veda, the Natya Shastras. It is also seen as an instrument played by goddess Saraswati and can be even dated back to the Vedic eras.
It was actually created in South India for Carnatic Music in the 17th century and later on in Hindustani music as well.
Who is the best Veena Instrument player?
India is a land of cultures that has been made more enormous by the arts of dance, music and so on. There are various veena players who are considered the best at playing this instrument. Ravikiran, Veena E. Gayatri, Sundaram Balachander, Gopal Shankar Mishra, and so on are considered to be the most popular veena players in the country.
Arsad Ali Khan was the best Rudra Veena player amongst the Hindus. He used to play the instrument in the dhrupad style and won the Padma Shri by 2008. He was considered the best living legend in the Hindu religion.
How can you learn Veena?
The learning of basics in Veena is easier to play than the other Indian instruments like flute and so on. One also learnt the basic music notes and practised them regularly. Learning to play the instruments with the middle and index fingers in a proper manner. One also learns to understand various tunes in a proper manner. Playing Veena in an expert manner and learning it properly may take a lot of time.
Veena is considered to be one of the oldest classical instruments in India. It represents our culture and heritage of music. Mentioned in various ancient texts in Indian mythology it is one of the musical instruments from which many other string instruments are made.
Musical instruments are good for mental health and are also needed to reduce stress, anxiety and so on. Learning of a musical instrument like veena makes an individual patient and keeps one’s mood good. It also helps to develop the cognitive functions of individuals and develop the health and well-being of people. Learning veena is also beneficial for increasing patience. There is also a connection between better educational performance with that of learning this musical instrument.