The veena is one of the most ancient string instruments of India. Its origin can be traced back; to the ancient yazh, a stringed instrument, similar to the Grecian
harp. Bharata, in his Natya Shastra, explains the theory of the 22 sruti-s in an octave with the help of two experimental veenas.
The veena then went through several innovations and modifications. In its current form, the instrument can be attributed to Raghunath Nayak. (17th century) of
Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The veena is a complete instrument and provides the basic components: sruti, laya and sahitua. Its main attraction is the mellow tonal
quality which is capable of evoking a meditative atmosphere.
Veena artiste Priya Chandrasekaran, took to praying the instrument since the age of six. She learnt. under eminent musicians and teachers Smt. Ranganayaki
Rajagopalan and Smt. Kamala Aswathama. Priya plays the South Indian Carnatic Music on the veena. She also had the rare privileqe of being introduced as a
veena prayer in the movie industry by music maestro Ilauaraja. Later, she also got opportunities to pray for several music directors in all the South Indian
In 1981 Priya got married and settled in the U.S.A. After that, she maintained a low profile for several years and during that time, she raised two adorable
daughters, Sindhu and Viveka. Though not into full fledged performance, Priya made use of the several opportunities she could. get to pray the veena. She has
also been playing the piano and guitar with learn-it-yourself books. Being a veena prayer settled abroad, it occurred to Priya to write a book on. "Basic Veena
Course’. This book primarily aims at making one learn to pray the veena even without direct guidance from a teacher. Priya has meticulously elaborated and
illustrated all the techniques of veena play, specially with reference to basic lessons. This gives a clear procedure for praying the fundamentals and can be very
easily followed even by a student who is a beginner.
This 600 The Basic Veena Course” will definitely make learning the veena a joyful and enriching experience for every student.
The Priya Chandrasekaran Basic Veena Course is designed for a beginner, regardless of age, who wishes to learn the South Indian Classical Music called Carnatic
Music on the veena. The goal is to play the veena in an easy way and have a strong basic foundation. This volume deals with the important fundamentals and
basic exercises. It progresses smoothly, and makes playing the veena, an enjoyable, rewarding and fulfilling experience. This book should eventually be
committed to memory.
The veena is one of the most beautiful instruments in the whole world. Lots of people love to play the veena and perform. The compact discs that are
accompanying this book is set to a sruthi of '3', or 'E' in the western scale, so please have a sruthi box or a pitch pipe that will help you set it to the sruthi of 'E'.
When you finish learning the entire book and you don't need the help of the accompanying compact discs anymore, it can be set to a slightly higher or lower pitch
according to the convenience of the player.
I cannot express how thankful I am to my friend Vasanthi Ramachandran who taught me how to type the whole book in the computer. She spent several hours
with me aiding me in this process.
I also thank Neal Giedd, the Sound Engineer, who recorded me at Georgia State University's Cara Studios.
The model demonstrating how to hold the veena is Viveka Chandrasekaran who is a singer and actress in America.
My gratitude also goes to Matt Gentry who took photographs needed for illustration.
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