Know your String Instruments : The Tantu Vadhya Campaign

Writer: Mahi Sastry, Team ShrotaHouse

Sitar. Tanpura. Saraswati Veena. Sarod. Surbhahar. Does the image of an artiste  sitting cross legged , with one of these instruments resting across their arms pop up in your head? 

Was it a Sarod or a Sitar that they were playing…? 

Here’s a quick pop quiz for you:

You must have seen the Sitar and the Saraswati Veena at least once. If they were placed in front of you, would you be able to tell which is which?

In bits and pieces? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

The five instruments mentioned above, are a part of the group of Indian string instruments. They are known as the Tantu Vadhya. 

Here at ShrotaHouse, we launched an Instagram campaign in September 2021, named The Tantu Vadhya Campaign. The campaign aimed to tell the viewers the significance , the differences , and the legacy of each Tantu Vadhya.

The entire run of the campaign can be found in the subsequent posts 

The effort featured a variety of posts that talked about the instruments in different formats

Bites of Information The description of the instrument,the manner in which it is played, great performers of its kind and other important points are distilled into short and lucid points.

The fun part The tiny tots, along with beautiful images of the Sarod and the Tanpura alike, educated us through their sweet voices  with clarity the differences between them and the other instruments as well. 

Artist Adda Dr Radhika Joshi(a classical Hindustani vocalist and the disciple of Pandit Raghunandan Panshekar Ji ) through her simple and succinct explanations walked us through the subtle differences in different notes,tones and rhythms. She also touched upon the material from which  the instrument is made and hinted at the process of making it as well. The talk not only consisted of this valuable knowledge but was  perfectly balanced with fun trivia. 

There were several underpinnings for this campaign that made it a first of many sorts

  1. It aimed to provide information that was factually correct: the  idea of the campaign originated from this tiny moment. A performer on Indian Idol was holding the Sitar the way the Tanpura should be held. The misrepresentation of the string instruments prompted the Team to bring this effort to life. 
  2. It attempted to inculcate an appreciation for Indian classical musical instruments: These series of posts may not convert you into a reputed artiste, but it definitely will pique your interest in the rich history of the instrument and its players and eventually develop a taste  that resonates with Indian classical music.
  3. It’s direction lied in simplifying jargons of domain by providing relevant information in small bites:  Succinct, short snippets of each instrument, just enough to aid the viewer to distinguish the instruments and have an understanding of the various components such as the ferrets,number of strings, the distance between each of them for example. 
  1. It offered a feeling of rejuvenation, by connecting us back to our roots. This day and age is fast paced and restless, leaving us with a sense of loss. Experiencing this effort,  of becoming aware of the sharp detail in our music, somewhere strikes a chord. A chord of home, that already has a well developed ear for our distinct musical culture. 

In the preparation upto the campaign , during the conduction of it and once it completed its run, the journey was full of new insights, learning and not only changed the audience but the makers of the campaign as well. The endeavour brought out the best in our team and this post is dedicated to the invested,vivacious,sweet and bubbly team that never tires! This campaign was a true success. A success where the learners and the contributors learnt and grew and fell in a little more in love with our forever musical saga.  

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