(2) Strong Muscle Supporting the Performance

Elbows bent at a 90-degree angle

People who are not familiar with playing the sitar get pain in the legs and the back when keeping the posture of holding the instrument. In the first sitar lesson by Dr. Chandrakant, students just keep sitting with the posture of playing the instrument. They are allowed to hold the sitar only after getting used to the posture, having practicing it for a certain period of time.

Dr. Chandrakant thus emphasized the importance of the posture in his lessons, because the right posture is absolutely necessary for the player to precisely and freely pick the strings and to play with a sense of speed.

The feature of Dr. Chandrakant’s performance lies in its speed. He was able to play in an ultrahigh-speed. He always played with the backbone straight, holding the sitar at a 45-degree angle, the left hand holding the fret at a 90-degree angle to the fret, and the right hand picking the strings at a 90-degree angle as well. A sitar player cannot see the position of the fret with the posture. If the posture becomes improper, naturally the position of holding the fret becomes improper as well.

Furthermore, muscle strength is needed to play the instrument. As a result of pressing the fret, the lower part of his left arm holding the strings was in the inner direction.  The muscle of this part of the body had become very strong. Dr. Chandrakant started to play the sitar at the age of four, and the muscle gradually gained a lot of strength as he grew older. In addition, his left hand could form a deep, round shape in order to hold the fret deeply. The left hand was likened to a bowl because it looked as if the hand had a bowl on the backside of it.

It is said that in India performers often play for hours. Dr. Chandrakant sometimes played the sitar for several hours. Of course, he kept the right posture during the performances because he had the very strong muscle. He naturally gained the muscle suitable for sitar performance by playing the instrument since childhood.


Michiko Yamagishi


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