How to play like L. Shankar?

December 4, 2004 at 08:55 PM · Am i the only one who would like to be able to play like L.Shankar? His glissandos are amazing and the scales and the phrasing too.

I have heard and seen him improvise on regular violins and violas and it is no doubt that he is in a class all by his own.

Can anyone in the West play like that?

Replies (13)

December 4, 2004 at 09:10 PM · the BIGGEST difference is the tuning of the violin, yes a diff. technique...but tuning makes a huge difference, plus he plays a five string which adds another dimension...just got his global fusion cd...good stuff

December 4, 2004 at 11:24 PM · what does "can anyone in the west play like that" mean, do you mean, can westerners play as well, or do they play that style?

December 5, 2004 at 01:28 AM · Tuning of the four strings is irrelevant.

Shankar could play like that on one string

The BIGGEST difference is the understanding of scales on one string, with one finger


December 5, 2004 at 03:02 AM · shankar... wow! i saw him play at a concert here in south carolina about a year ago... he was on his "double violin" with his partner, gingger... i think that what makes his style so unique is the fact that it is eastern/ indian and uses a different scale system, more improvisation, etc. i definitely have to get 'global fusion' though coz i've heard nothing but good things about it...

December 6, 2004 at 08:02 PM · I think it´s strange that no one in the west has learned to play like that.

I would call him the best violanplayer in the world If he started playing with a good western vibrato and not just eastern glissandos.

December 6, 2004 at 09:39 PM · There's no way to know how he would have been as a "straight" classical player. Maybe he would have been one of the greats, maybe not. No one in the west plays Indian music at all, so no, they do not play the way he does. I'm a big fan of L. Shankar from his days with Shakti (mid 1970's) but I don't know that he could have been another Oistrakh or Perlman. Maybe...but I don't see the use in speculating. He's great at what he does, isn't that enough?

December 7, 2004 at 01:13 AM · I have an ex-student who is right now in India studying violin. She is a classically trained violinist who loves jazz, but also loves the Indian musical tradition.


December 7, 2004 at 07:13 AM · "No one in the west plays Indian music at all"

You know every player in the west, quite impressive!

December 7, 2004 at 04:51 PM · I did not mean absolutely nobody, so I apologize for not being more precise with my words. I would not have to leave town to find someone who plays Indian classical music.

My entire life I've heard people talk about this rock and roll pianist or that "country" fiddler, saying "he could have been a great classical artist," when the truth is that it's impossible to know whether or not they could have. I think everyone finds the way to whatever they do best, whether it's playing a particular style, or teaching, or carpentry or whatever. I guess what we need to know is, are you talking about pure technical abiity? If so, yes, we have some amazing technicians in the west playing violin. Whether they are musical or not is subjective. I haven't heard much of L. Shankar's non-classical (Indian) music, but his work with Shakti was amazing. Comparing that to what Heifetz or Oistrakh or Michael Rabin did, or to what Mark O'Connor does, would be "apples and oranges."

December 7, 2004 at 09:31 PM · damnit graham, ya got me again!!....that's an excellent point

December 8, 2004 at 02:18 AM · I'm also a long time admirer of L. Shankar. I've seen him a few times, last time at Town Hall. NYC and I got to sit up close. If I'm not mistaken one of the secrets of the glissando oil.

L. Subrumaniam is no slouch either if you find his acoustic music recordings.

December 9, 2004 at 03:04 AM · Andreas,

I just remembered that there is a Mark O'Connor recording with L. Shankar which you might enjoy hearing. It is titled "Heroes," and he performs duets with a variety of players and styles. Perhaps Amazon or somplace online would have an mp3 sample you could listen to. If it's not in print or you cannot find it, let me know and I can get a copy to you.

I agree about L. Subramaniam's acoustic playing. I recommend the live recording with Ustad Allarakha on tabla (shortly before he passed away, I understand) entitled "Matchless." Ustad Allarakha, by the way, was the father of Zakir Hussain, who played tabla with L. Shankar in the group Shakti in the 70's.

December 9, 2004 at 07:43 AM · Shankar played the Tchaik. with the New Delhi Symphony when he was about 16...his chops are multi-culti.

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