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Difference Between Western and Indian Violinists

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The violin as we know it today may not have originated in India, but Indian violinists have been playing similar instruments have been around in the subcontinent since much before the emergence of the violin. The first form of the violin is in fact believed to have emerged in India, and was much similar to what is known as Ravanhatta in Rajasthan today. Arab traders who arrived in India around the 7th century took it back to Persia. By the 10th century, the Ravanhatta had reached Spain and was transformed into a viola. Soon after, the viola went further into Europe and become the violin as we know it today.

The main difference is in the way Indian violinists play their instruments, rather than the instrument itself. Indian violinists place an emphasis on continuity, as opposed to western violinists who prefer to focus on the notes. This has resulted in a completely different techniques adopted by the violinists. Indian violinists play their violins in a sitting position, as opposed to western violinists who hold and play their violins while standing up. As a result, Indian violinists are able to move their bows more freely and adjust to playing around other classical Indian instruments.

It is important to note that even within India, there are differences with which Indian violinists operate. For example, violinists based in the north of the country tend to vary their tempos regularly so that the tunes can fit into the musical system based there. On the other hand, Carnatic violinists who are based in the south of the country generally maintain a single tempo, much like violinists from Europe. However, violinists from all over India generally use the same kind of violin, and have the same stance while playing their instrument.