The Sangeeta Ratnakara written by Sarangadeva contains numerous information about various musical instruments such as the Veena (also known as Tata Vadya),
- Constructed using the dandam made from the wood of a Khadira tree
- Wood should be mature, without thorns or circular shape
- Circumference of the wood should be the size of a stretched palm
- Length of the Veena should not exceed 36 inches
- The Yali at the end of the Veena used to be known as Dorika and could be made from any available wood
- Width of the dandam near the Yali is 1.5 inches less than the width near the Kukubham or pot
- A hole is made in the lid of the Kukubham, in front of the bridge
- The top of the Kukubham has a slight curve rather than being flat
- Instead of using a gourd, a thumba made of wood is used
- Naagapaasam is attached to the Kukubham to tie the strings
- The Patrika or bridge is placed on the Kukubham
- Strings are tied from the Naagapaasam, crossing the Patrika to the Dorika and tied to the biradaalu
- The length of the Veena is 36 inches
- The dandam is made from red sandalwood or khadira wood
- Clean wood without thorns is used
- The circumference is 2 inches, making the dandam very thin
- Coconut tile is used as TUMBA
- Singing is prescribed along with playing the Veena
- Sarngadeva recommends that a talented musician should first expand the raga (Ragalapana) and then play the fixed text on Veena because of the tenderness in the sound of this type of Veena
- The text says, “GAYED GEETHAM NIBADHDHAM CHA PRAVEENO VEENAYO ANAYAA”
- The strings used in this Veena are not made of metal
- Silk threads are used and made hard to tie them to the instrument as strings
- The text says, “ATRA MESHANTRA TANTREE SYAAT SAMADRUDHA”
- The specialty of this Veena is the tenderness in its sound.
The Kinnari Veena is a type of veena instrument that has specific measurements and materials used for its construction. Sarngadeva, an ancient musicologist, has provided detailed descriptions of this instrument in his work, the Sangita Ratnakara.
- The Kinnari Veena has a length of 3 1/2 stretched palms (Vithasthi).
- The KAKUBHAM of the veena is made out of shaka wood, and the height of the DANDAM is 2 1/2″ with a width of 5″.
- A copper or iron small plate is placed on the PATRIKA (bridge) where 14 brass frets are used for the veena.
- Sarngadeva mentioned that these frets were fixed in black colored honey wax.
- The strings are tied to the other strings present on the other side of the PATRIKA (bridge). These strong strings are again tied to the Naagapaasam which is at the back of the Kakubham.
- The strings on the Kakubham are plucked and played with the 3 fingers of the right hand. The left hand fingers are used to play on the frets.
- Sarngadeva has mentioned three variations of the Kinnari Veena – Bruhati kinnara, Madhyama kinnara, and Laghvee Kinnara – which differ in measurements.
- The Bruhati Kinnari Veena’s dandam is 50″ long and 6 1/2″ wide, Madhyama kinnara veena’s dandam is 43″ long and the breadth is in proportion, and the Laghvi kinnari is 35″ in length and 5″ in breadth.
- From the description of the Kinnari Veena by Sarngadeva, it can be seen that there are similarities with today’s Saraswati Veena.
- The Kinnari Veena had only 2 saptakas (14 frets), while today’s Saraswati Veena has 24 frets.
- The measurement of the dandam in both the Veenas is similar, and the manufacturing process of the Kakubha, Naagapaasa dandam, and frets are all similar.
- The only difference is that today’s Veena is made out of Jackfruit wood, while the Kinnari Veena was made out of shaka daru.
Important points to note;
- The length of the Kinnari Veena is measured in stretched palms (Vithasthi).
- The KAKUBHAM is the top part of the veena, and it is made out of shaka wood.
- The DANDAM is the neck of the veena and is 2 1/2″ in height and 5″ in width.
- The PATRIKA is the bridge on the veena where a small plate made of copper or iron is placed.
- 14 brass frets are used for the Kinnari Veena, and Sarngadeva mentions that these frets were fixed in black colored honey wax.
- The strings are tied to the other side of the PATRIKA (bridge), and these strong strings are again tied to the Naagapaasam, which is at the back of the Kakubham.
- The right hand fingers are used to pluck the strings on the Kakubham, and the left hand fingers are used to play on the frets.
- Sarngadeva described three variations of the Kinnari Veena, which differ in measurements – Bruhati kinnara, Madhyama kinnara,
The Pinakee Veena is a unique instrument with a dandam shaped like a bow. It is 41 inches long, with the central portion being 2.5 inches wide and the rest being 1.75 inches wide. Unlike other Veenaas, it is not a pluck type instrument but is bowed using a fiddle with stretched clusters of fine hair. Gum from tree sap was applied to some animal hair clusters to improve density. The fiddle (Kamaan) is used with the right hand to play the instrument while holding it vertically. Some researchers speculate that the Pinakini Veena could have been the predecessor of the present-day Dilruba.
Important points to note:
- The Pinakee Veena is a unique instrument with a bow-shaped dandam.
- It is 41 inches long with a central portion 2.5 inches wide and the rest being 1.75 inches wide.
- It is not a pluck type instrument.
- The Pinakee Veena is bowed using a fiddle with stretched clusters of fine hair.
- Gum from tree sap was applied to some animal hair clusters to improve density.
- The fiddle (Kamaan) is used with the right hand to play the instrument.
- The Pinakee Veena is held vertically.
- The Pinakini Veena could have been the predecessor of the present-day Dilruba according to some researchers.
The name itself suggests that this Veena might have been created by Sarangadeva. The distance between the Meru and Patrika i.e. the bridge is 4 VITASTHIS i.e. 33.316535424 inches(12 Aṅgulas = Vitasti and 1 Angula = 1.763/2.54 inches). The strings are tied to 2 wooden pieces fixed on both the ends of the Veena. It is played with a fiddle (Kamaan) which is tied with nerves. It is from Sarangadeva’s Ratnakara we could get at least this much of information about Veenaas. Sri Manchala Jagannatha Rao has written about many varieties of veenaas in “ANDHRULA SANGEETA KALA with very brief descriptions. Still the actual shape and forms of those Veenas are not clear. All these varieties are not seen today. But by studying the details of some veena varieties it can be understood that the Dilruba, Sarod, today’s Sarangi, Violin, the Saraswati veena have evolved from them.