Design, Construction, and Material of an Ancient Indian String Instrument

Anurag Gupta and Chaitali Dangarikar

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Sunday, September 15, 2019 from 09:00 to 09:20

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
Ekatantri Vina is a one-stringed fretless tubular zither from ancient India whose descriptions and representations are variously found in musicological texts and sculptures, respectively, between 10th and 15th century AD. The present work is a first of its kind attempt to study these sources to understand the precise structural and material nature of the Vina. In particular, we use the five Sanskrit texts where Ekatantri Vina is unambiguously described, and prepare accurate computed aided models of various parts of the Vina as well as describe their assembly. We also compare how the construction and the material of the Vina differed between various texts which span five centuries. Our work is motivated, on one hand, from an aim to establish historicity of certain unique design features of the present day Indian stringed instruments and, on the other hand, to initiate a systematic study towards reconstruction of ancient Indian instruments. Our investigations also provide grounds for further study in acoustics, mechanics, and materials, all in the context of ancient Indian science.

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