Welcome to Chitravenu

Namaste and Welcome.

This website/Blog presents the Chitravenu, an invention I have developed in my spare time over the past five years.

Chitravenu is a melodic wind musical instrument capable of producing a continuum of pitches in a fashion that is highly suited to playing Indian classical music both of the Carnatic (South Indian) and Hindustani (North Indian) variety, according to a particular aesthetic philosophy dominant in Indian classical music called “gaayaki ang”, which can be translated as “vocal style”. Indian classical music is typically performed by very small ensembles of one or two vocalists or instrumentalists and one or more percussionists. The “gaayaki ang” aesthetic philosophy dictates that Indian instrumental music should be aimed at mimicking vocal music to the best extent possible and replicating the standard vocal repertoire on the instrument. Consequently, the “gaayaki ang” aesthetic philosophy is a primary consideration for the design of any new instrument in the Indian context, including the Chitravenu.

Indian classical music is based on a set of discrete notes similar to western music, but a major difference is that part of the Indian aesthetic that mandates the ability to glide smoothly between notes separated by small or large intervals, as well as the ability to create smooth modulations around any individual note. Therefore, ideally, Indian classical music calls for a complete continuity of pitch, as well as the ability to control pitch movement with great rapidity and precision. All of these are achieved by the present invention.

Among melodic wind instruments (as opposed to string instruments), only the trombone and the slide whistle offer continuity of pitch. The latter is of limited range and of non-musical tonal quality, and, hence, can be classified as a toy. The trombone is not very well suited for Indian music because it does not allow for the desired fine dynamic control, as well as the fact that it offers less than a single octave range without overblowing. Overblowing cuts the continuity at the point of transition from normal to overblowing. Thus, the present invention fills a clear void in the type of instruments currently available for playing Indian classical music.

Please check out the rest of the website and subsequent Blog posts for more information.

Best Regards,
Uday Shankar

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