NORTH INDIAN SITAR MUSIC by the 10th century, northern India was under Persian rule. Many aspects of Persian culture, from Islam to music, where brought to the conquered lands. The sitar was a product of this period. The ancient instrument Veena was modified by a Mogul court musician to conform with the tastes of his Persian patrons and named after a major Persian instrument called the satar (meaning three strings); it has underwent many changes since, the sitar the modern sitar evolved in the 18th century. The sitar has one melodic string, three to four drone strings, two to four rhythm strings (chikari) and up to thirteen sympathetic strings. These sympathetic strings, which stretch below the metal ring frets, aren't plucked but allowed to vibrate freely. The frets are movable and adjust for different ragas. The essence of classical north Indian Hindustani music revolves around the interaction of the concepts of raga and tala. RAGA refers not only to the particular set of pitches, but to many rules and symbols concerning this scale, some of them non musical (in the western sense). Each raga's musical rules determine which notes are important, how it is to be developed, what types of improvisations are allowed, and characteristic phrases. Also, ragas are seen as either husbands (ragas), wives (raginis) or sons (putras). Each one is associated with a time of day and sometimes a season; traditionally, a raga would only be performed at its assigned time. Each raga carries with it a prevailing sentiment, often expressed poetically. TALA is the rhythmic cycle within which the raga is developed. The tala determines the length of songs, phrases and improvisations. Here is the pattern of the most common tala, teental, which is sixteen beats long in four sections the first beat is called sam it is clapped 2 is tapped with the ring finger 3 is tapped with the middle finger 4 is tapped with the index finger 5 is called thali (accent) and is clapped, 6 ring finger, 7 middle finger, 8 index 9 is called khali or empty (unaccented) the hand is turned palm up, 10 is ring finger, 11 is middle, 12 is index, 13 is clapped (thali) 14 ring finger, 15 middle finger, 16 index and back to sum clapped again then repeat whole process. Sam is where all climaxes occur for the most part where phrases and improvised passages often end. Rhythmic excitment is created when the tablas, sitar or both seem to playing "out of tala", sometimes for several cycles, but come together at sam. TIHAI is when a phrase is played three times and finishes at sam. Tihai's come in a variety of math and some are short and start from the 13th matra or beat and end at sam,, other tihai's can take multipul cycles to complete and finally end at sam. There are many different types of compositions played on the tabla, the main ones being called peshcara,qaida with the expansion of qaida called bal, rela's, tukeras and gut's. Many of these compositions are derived from the tradition of the ancient barrell shaped drum called the pakhawaj which was the main accompaniment of drupud vocal music. The predecessor of modern Hindustani classical music. THERE are three types of pieces in Hindustani instrumental music-- KHYAL: The main form of classical music can last from fifteen to ninety minutes. It is in two halves, each half with three sections. ALAP the raga and its mood are established in slow improvisations without tablas. Alap: free metered, slow, introspective. Jor: slowly pulsating, beginning to establish tempo. Jala: rapid, fllashy improvised phrasings twice the speed of Jor. Gat: the tablas join in to present a pair of pre composed song melodies, called Asthai and Antara, which are both then improvised. This section starts out in slow tempo called Vilambit, then increased to medium tempo called Madhyalaya. Then finishes in fast lay (tempo) called Drut. THUMRI: A liight clssical song with a commonly known text. DHUN: A light classical set of variations based on folk tunes or composed melodies. A concert usually starts with the longer more seriouspiece and gets progressively lighter, often ending with a light piece played in the popular raga Bhairavi.