Last week, our department hosted a visiting professorship with a sarod virtuoso and North Indian classical music scholar. The sarod is a fretless stringed musical instrument that, along with the sitar, is associated with this musical tradition (North Indian and Hindustani classical music). I know little, if anything, about this music, but I got to attend an open rehearsal/lecture with our guest and an invited tabla player and learned just a little bit more about the sarod, its performance practice, and Hindustani music.
The music is based on a typical “western” major scale, with some alterations, and includes a drone, the sarod, and tabla (percussion instrument). In the discussion, the performers noted the importance of “in-between” the notes both on the instrument and in vocalizations… and when he brought this up, I looked at Pennsylvania Music Scholar and said, “Guitar slides!” These slides or bends, referred to as “meends,” are an important characteristic of this music. So with a nod to ethnomusicology, today’s Guitar Slide Wednesday features classical Indian music, performed by Dr. David Trasoff (sarod) and Mosin Kawa (tabla).
You can read about the form and sections of the work here, and the video is quite long. However, in the opening unaccompanied section (alap), you can immediately hear the emphasis on slides.