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Sitar vs. Veena: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on February 4, 2024
Sitar is a plucked string instrument from North India, known for its long neck and distinct sound, while Veena is a South Indian string instrument, revered in classical music for its deep, resonant tones.

Key Differences

The sitar, originating from North India, is integral to Hindustani classical music. The veena, with its roots in South India, holds a significant place in Carnatic music tradition.
Huma Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
A sitar typically features a long, hollow neck and a gourd body, with 18-20 strings including both melody and drone strings. The veena is characterized by a large resonating body, a long fingerboard with frets, and usually has four main strings and three drone strings.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
The sitar is noted for its complex playing technique involving meends (glides) and gamaks (ornamentations), ideal for Hindustani ragas. The veena, with its emphasis on gamakas, is central to the melodic and rhythmic aspects of Carnatic music.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
Sitar construction involves tuning pegs for its many strings and a distinctive bridge that creates its unique buzzing sound. The veena's construction allows for sustained notes and intricate finger techniques, with tuning done using pegs at the end of its neck.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
The sitar gained international fame through artists like Ravi Shankar and its influence in world music. The veena, while less internationally known, is revered in Indian classical music for its rich tonal quality and cultural heritage.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Origin

North India
South India
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Strings

18-20, including melody and drone strings
4 main strings, 3 drone strings
Huma Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Musical Tradition

Hindustani classical music
Carnatic classical music
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Playing Technique

Meends, gamaks
Emphasis on gamakas and sustained notes
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

Global Recognition

Widely recognized, especially in the West
Lesser-known globally, deeply revered in Indian culture
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024
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Sitar and Veena Definitions

Sitar

Classical Music.
Classical sitar performances showcase intricate ragas.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Veena

Stringed Instrument.
The veena produces deep, resonant tones unique to its design.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Sitar

String Instrument.
The sitar's captivating melodies are a hallmark of North Indian music.
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024

Veena

Cultural Symbol.
In Indian mythology, the veena is often associated with the goddess Saraswati.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

Sitar

Cultural Icon.
The sitar became globally famous through Ravi Shankar's concerts.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Veena

Classical Instrument.
The veena is central to South Indian Carnatic music.
Huma Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Sitar

Physical Design.
A sitar is easily recognized by its long neck and gourd body.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Veena

Construction.
A veena's large resonating body and fretted fingerboard are distinctive.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

Sitar

Playing Technique.
Mastering the sitar involves learning complex meends and gamaks.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

Veena

Musical Technique.
Playing the veena requires dexterity for intricate finger movements.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

Sitar

A stringed instrument of India having a seasoned gourd for a body and a hollow wooden neck with movable raised frets. Stretched over the frets are usually 6 or 7 metal strings on which the melody is played with a pick, and stretched under the frets are 11 or more sympathetic resonating strings.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Veena

Variant of vina.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Sitar

(musical instruments) A Hindustani/Indian classical stringed instrument, typically having a gourd as its resonating chamber.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Veena

(musical instrument) A plucked stringed instrument with five or seven steel strings stretched on a long fretted finger-board over two gourds, used mostly in Carnatic Indian classical music.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Sitar

A stringed instrument of India; has a long neck and movable frets; has 6 or 7 metal strings for playing and usually 13 resonating strings
Sumera Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

FAQs

What is a veena?

A string instrument central to South Indian classical music.
Huma Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

What is a sitar?

A plucked string instrument prominent in North Indian music.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

How is the veena different in terms of strings?

It usually has four main strings and three drone strings.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

What music tradition is the sitar associated with?

Hindustani classical music.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

Where did the sitar originate?

In North India, evolving from Persian influences.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Is the veena adaptable to contemporary music?

It's primarily used in traditional settings, but some artists have explored contemporary adaptations.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

How many strings does a sitar have?

Typically 18-20, including melody and drone strings.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Is the veena well-known internationally?

Less so than the sitar, but it's highly respected in Indian music circles.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

What distinguishes the veena's sound?

Its deep, resonant tones and emphasis on sustained notes.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

And the veena?

It's associated with Carnatic classical music.
Janet White
Feb 04, 2024

What's the historical significance of the veena?

It's one of the oldest Indian classical instruments with mythological importance.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

What's unique about the sitar's sound?

Its distinctive buzzing sound and capacity for glides and ornamentations.
Harlon Moss
Feb 04, 2024

How difficult is it to learn the sitar?

It requires dedication and practice, especially to master its intricate techniques.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

And for the veena?

Usually jackwood is used.
Harlon Moss
Feb 04, 2024

Are there famous schools for learning the sitar?

Yes, several schools in India and abroad specialize in sitar training.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

Who popularized the sitar globally?

Ravi Shankar, among others.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

What kind of wood is used for making a sitar?

Typically teak or tun wood.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 04, 2024

Can the sitar be used in modern music?

Yes, it's been incorporated into various genres, including fusion and world music.
Janet White
Feb 04, 2024

What about learning the veena?

Similar to the sitar, it requires practice, with a focus on finger dexterity.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024

What about institutions for the veena?

Many Carnatic music schools in India offer specialized veena training.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 04, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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