17 thoughts on “Exercises to Get you Started”

  1. Hi

    When playing, do you use your middle fingerfor the aroh and the finger in between your middle finger and thumb for the avroh. Could you please explain the finger movements.

    Thank you in advanced.

  2. P.S

    would you advise playing in male scale or female scale, male scale seems easier but i guess there is more scope for improvisation in the female scle.

  3. Hi

    1) as per what I’ve learned – I use my middle finger 98% of the time.
    I’ve got many requests for a detailed lesson on hand/finger placement , I’m putting it together.

    2) Scale practice – It’s all subjective: what do you like the sound of more ? Who are you accompanying more often ?

    My idea: It’s best to practice all so you are ready to accompany male vocalists as well as Female vocalists . ( you get more chances to play that way ).
    check the “Playing in Different Scales without Re-tuning” lesson if you’re interested.

  4. i am a beginner.trying to learn dilruba .my father was a very good dilruba player.every evening he used to play for hours.since i have started learning your basic lessons will be of great help to me. thanks. kalpana

  5. I love this site! I bought an esraj 2 weeks ago, played Sarangi for a several months 2 years ago so it wasn’t exactly new to me…what a relief it was that I didn’t have to condition my fingers! I remember all too well the raw fingers from playing the Sarangi. All the lessons have been more than worth the nominal fee..thank you for the afordability…a teacher is 3 hours away so this will get me going until I can get down off the mountain AND I won’t be quite as embarrased with my first lesson thanks to your online lessons. I do have a request though. Can I get the written notation for your composition of Rag Yaman? I have one from my Sarangi teacher but would love the version that is on the video….many blessings and gratitude, Sienna

  6. Hi, I tend to straddle the frets with my index and middle fingers. It’s a little easier on the fingers since I don’t have to push down as much to hit the note. Is this kosher, or should I break this habit right away?

    Also, I’m assuming we don’t need to actually make contact with the frets. I sat with my digital tuner to determine how little pressure I could get away with to hit the right swara. But the guy I bought my Dilruba from is a Sitar player and he thought I should press against the frets. I’m hoping he’s wrong since that would kill the fingers. Please help me clear up these minor points. Thanks.

  7. @Lisa :

    The way I’ve been taught is : You do have to push down so the STRING touches the fret.

    But you have to push it down using as little pressure as possible.
    Your finger does not necessarily have to touch the fret.
    It’s a balancing act.

    ( Generally the playing string on your Esraj should not be so high off the frets – and pushing it down should be quite easy )

    It does hurt a little bit, much less than playing Sitar. Takes a while to get used to it though.

  8. Darn! If I have to touch the frets this means most of my frets have to be moved by a centimeter or more. The distance from the main string to the lowest fret (high Ga) is about 1.6 cm, that’s a bit of stretch for these strings. For now, I’ll just try to apply consistent pressure. I used to play a little Carnatic violin, so I’m just glad there’s frets!

  9. Hey James
    Saw the video. Sounds pretty good.
    I would recommend you work towards being able to play notes faster (without sliding at all at first).
    and learn a few compositions so you get some idea of how indian style melodies are structured .. so you’ll be more decisive when choosing what note to play next.

    are you able to follow Teentaal ? (it’s the name of a beat – 16 beat cycle)
    search youtube and see.
    if you are –
    this will be useful (and hopefully fun) for you

  10. Gur Fateh!

    For the above exercises , can u post the notation , I am
    trying to do the same on Taus , i guess it is starting with Ni , but want to be sure.

    Gurpratap Singh

  11. Hi,
    I’ve noticed that playing at the fret doesn’t always give me the correct tone. e.g. when starting from standard Sa on the 7th Fret, Shuddha Ga should fall on the 10th fret, but I find that this comes out too sharp.

    Is this normal?

    Many thanks!

  12. hi I started my dilruba journey, but when I’m doing my sargams as my bow turns to go back I get a screeching sound (when I slow down) how do I get past that?

  13. hi I started my dilruba journey, but when I’m doing my sargams as my bow turns to go back I get a screeching sound (when I slow down) how do I get past that?


  14. Hi Khundlini
    You’ll need to experiment with these things

    1) Bow angle in relation to the main playing string
    2) Bow “twist” in relation to the main playing string
    3) bowing pressure
    4) try More or less Rosin on the bow and see what works for you
    5) if you absolutely cant get it to work , try a different bow — maybe try buying a cheap violin bow .

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