Learning Raags #1 – Yaman

As music enthusiasts, we are very lucky that we live in an age where we have access to so many performances by great musical masters on the Internet.
Youtube is an amazing resource if you know how to learn from it.

Lets learn Raag Yaman / Raag Kalyan by lisening to some recordings, keeping our ears tuned, and picking out patterns.

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Counting Beats, Taals, Tihais, Chakkardars

From my experience, many people get impatient with themselves when they listen to Indian Classical Music because they don’t understand what’s going on.
It’s actually very easy to understand if you ask the right people.
Even if you have NO clue about the technicalities of what Raag is being played, I think you can thoroughly enjoy a performance if you can follow the beat.
I know that’s how I started.

This workshop is for you if you

  • * want to understand how Taals work in the Indian system of music
  • * as a listener, want to be able to count the beats so you know what’s going on – you’ll enjoy all the Indian Classical Music concerts you attend from now on because you can follow the beat. You’ll appreciate the millions of Indian Classical Music videos on Youtube much much more.
  • * easily learn to count the more complex cycles – like Vilambit (VERY slow) ektaal… and beats with fractions like “10 3/4 (10.75) beats” —– apply the same concepts when you listen to any other Vilambit taal or other cycles with 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 fractions.
  • * Learn how Tihais and Chakkardaars work so you can enjoy them more
  • * and Finally: learn a very simple system for creating your own Tihais

Everything in this workshop will be explained it to you in a way that’s straightforward, practical, and simplified as much as it can be.

This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
Cost: 18USD . You will have access to the content for 150 days.

We think 150 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.

Lessons: Update

The basic structure of the system I will be using to serve online workshops has been put in place.
No obligations. Learn what you want, when you want, if you want.
But please carefully read through the “learn-online” page at the top first.

There are 3 free lessons up for beginners who have some experience with the Indian system of music , have had some contact with Dilruba / Esraj before, and want to just ‘figure it out’.

* Detailed Lesson on tuning for people with no previous knowledge of the Indian music system is complete for now, but may be added on to based on your questions.
It includes an introduction to the Indian notation system with nice illustrations and simple video demonstrations + detailed illustration for tuning + high quality audio of my Esraj being tuned.


1 workshop to build your note-matching skills and develop your ability to play from any scale ( A#, C#, D# ) without retuning have been put up.
1 workshop consisting of Exercises for Beginners has been put up.
1 Intermediate workshop (Meends) has been put up.
1 Composition in Raag Yaman / Tintaal for beginners – It’s a nice fun composition you can use as a Shaan. It will also challenge your accuracy as you try to play it at faster and faster speeds.

Lessons for proper sitting position and proper hand placement on the playing string are also in the queue.
By Proper – I don’t mean right or wrong. I simply mean, Ustad Piara Singh -> Ustad Baljeet Singh -> Ustad Maiya Singh — their style… which is the TarShehnai or Gayaki (Singing) style.
This is a big deal – because it took me a very long to get it right. Once you do, playing embellishments and adding ‘mithaas’ (sweetness) to your music becomes much easier.

More content will be organized and put up on an ongoing basis.
See the Lessons section on the right – to get a list of what is currently available.

Playing in Different Scales without re-Tuning

Imagine, it is 1 year from now, you have developed your skills by leaps and bounds and are in demand as a Dilruba player.
You are invited to a Youth Kirtan* program (*religious music).
You have been requested to play Dilruba for all 10 Jathas (groups) performing that day.
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From experience, you know that if there are 10 Jathas in the line-up, you’re going to have to re-tune your instrument at least 7 or 8 times to match their scale and Raag.
Which means you’re going to extend the 2 hour program by approximately 25 minutes, just by having to re-tune your instrument over and over again.
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Interested in a more efficient idea?
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It’s better if you practice this exercise early on – you will also find a very interesting use for these exercises when you get more advanced.
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This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
Cost: 23USD . You will have access to the content for 60 days.

We think 60 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.

Make your Own Esraj!!!!

Interested in trying to make your own Esraj / Dilruba ?
Instructions by Mr. Dennis Havlena.
Be sure to check out his Youtube videos and subscribe to his channel.

Once you’re looking at the instructions there one point to keep in mind:

  • My personal opinion is that, a lighter, less dense bridge would help give a bigger/louder sound. Check out instructions by David Courtney.
    However, if i remember correctly, Dennis mentioned that he broke one bridge because it wasn’t strong enough. So if you’re not in the mood to experiment, go exactly as per his instructions and use the big bridge.
  • Before putting together plans to make the proper one, Dennis showed me a simple Esraj with a cookie-tin soundbox (without sympathetics) as a draft. I hope he puts instructions up for that as well. It’s a simple instrument and is nothing to boast to your friends about, but it will play just fine and get a lot of beginners started.

    You can also make a basic Taanpura if you’re interested. Of course it wont compare to a traditional Taanpura, but judging from the audio sample Dennis has on his website, it sounds good enough to use on stage for casual gatherings.

    Lesson: Composition in Raag Yaman : GRS.N

    Composition in Raag Yaman –
    level: Beginner

    This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
    Cost: 13USD . You will have access to the content for 45 days.

    We think 45 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.

    Tuning – in Detail

    This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
    Cost: 10.00USD . You will have access to the content for 75 days.

    We think 75 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.

    Beginner Practice Exercises

    This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
    Cost: 19.00USD . You will have access to the content for 41 days.

    We think 41 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.

    Meend Exercises (Sliding)

    This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
    Cost: 21USD . You will have access to the content for 40 days.

    We think 40 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.