Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya - Ektantri Veena
By Dr. Lalmani Misra
Take three arm-lengths of Cheed (pinus) or Khair (catechu) wood, straight and tubular in shape of about one hand-span circumference with a smooth surface without any snag, blemish or a crack and hollow it out one and half finger-widths to make the Stem (daand) of Ektantri Veena. Two bores of fore-finger width or three bores of little finger-width should be made. An oblique kakubh (bridge) of Cheed, Khair or Saar should be attached to the stem. In middle of bridge, smoothened to resemble the back of a tortoise, fix a patuli (metal-plate) from a spike fixed in the center. Next at a distance of seventeen finger-widths from upper and lower ends of stem make fine holes on the underside of stem. One end of the hole should face the bridge, the other the circumference. Lace two lengths of gut going in through first and coming out of second and pull to tighten the loop so that the two sides of the cord are still equal in length. Take two round smooth seasoned gourds eight finger-width high and 48 finger-width in diameter with a neck of twelve finger-widths. Fix the gourds by passing the gut already tied to stem through this pipe and threading through twin holes of a half-cut coconut shell placed with its convex shell pressing against the inner sides of gourd. Fix the gut from the staff on the bridge. Place a two finger-width wide jeeva-patuli (plate) made from bark of ripened bamboo underneath the gut-string. Tie a strip made of ripened-bamboo bark measuring 12 finger-widths by 2 nail-widths of little finger around the stem at a point three finger-widths from the gourd nearer bridge. This denotes the place of Mandra (lower octave).
A veena constructed according to such classical specifications is known as Ektantri Veena. It is foremost; all other forms of Veena are its derivatives. Man attains all four – Dharma, Artha, Kām, Moksha – by mere glimpse or touch of Veena. It has the power to absolve one of such heinous sins as killing a Brahmin. The ruling deities of this Veena are same as that of Rudra-Veena. This instrument today is in use as Vichitra-Veeena or Batta-been.
In Sangita-Ratnakara measurements of different musical instruments are given in terms of hasta, vitasti and angula. A measure of length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger is one hasta which in turn is equal to two vitastis. A measure of length between the extended thumb and the little finger is one vitasti which is equal to twelve angulas.
Excerpts from Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya: Swar-Mandal
Excerpts from Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya: Other Veena-s
Dr. Lalmani Misra on Wikipedia
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