Author - Dr Suneera Kasliwal
"The western guitar adapted in India by Hindustani classical musicians is the arch top f-cut guitar. Though some artists before them also did experiment with it, it was Brij Bhushan Kabra who adopted and introduced this western instrument to North Indian classical music in the sixties and seventies. Later, well known musician, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt not only made it popular in India but also established it on the on the international platform. In order to bring it nearer to other Indian classical instruments, Kabra added three drone and two chikari strings.
Bhatt started his experiments of addition and modification in the early seventies, retaining the basic structure, but changing the sound – so that it became altogether a new instrument. Bhatt developed his own playing style, mixing the techniques of the sitar, sarod and veena and re-christened his instrument as the Mohan Veena. The Mohan Veena consists of 3 melodic strings, 5 drone strings and a further 12 sympathetic strings and its tuning varies according to the particular raga being played. Other exponents who have gained recognition in Indianised guitar playing are Debashish Bhattacharya and Barun Pal. Younger generation disciples too are on the path to fame.
Previously the bamboo flute of North India had been a soprano instrument usually no more than thirty centimeters long and was used for folk and light music or accompaniment. Pannalal’s innovations in the development of the bansuri included the creation of a longer, wider instrument with an additional hole. This gave his flute a deep and sonorous, sombre yet sweet tone and register, allowing at the same time an accurate rendition of the subtleties and complexities of ragas.