european musical instruments in India

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at
Wed Mar 26 15:57:16 UTC 1997

        Isn't it curious that the violin in Indian classical music (Carnatic) is
        played with the scroll of the instrument resting on the arch of the foot?
        I find this interesting because I was always taught never to touch items
        associated with "Sarasvati", ie. books, paper, and musical instruments,
        with your feet.
It is stomping on them that is to be avoided...  but,
resting them on the ankle... naaah, that's just fine ;-)
        The instrument can just as well be played in the Western "upright"
        manner... Might this have to do with it being a Western instrument?
Wow... are you serious ?  It has nothing to do with
the instrument being Western.
I am also curious about your claim that it can played
as well in the upright manner...  to the best of my
knowledge, no Carnatic violinist of any repute has played
it holding it in this manner, including those who have 
had training in Western classical violin.  

There are photos of the great Dvaram Venkataswami Naidu 
holding the violin in the Western style... apparently, 
he played some music too rather than just hold a pose... 
but that seems to have been just an exception.
A few have explained that the holding position in Carnatic 
music has to do with the left hand techique - vAmAcAra ;-)
required for playing the various ornamentations in the
music... it does somewhat constrain the right hand but
the great violinists have always figured a way out. 

Probably, the practice started off with a requirement that 
the violinist be seated while playing in an ensemble.

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