The Veena

The ‘Saraswati Veena (vina)’, a fretted 7 stringed plucked instrument which is considered as queen of all the ‘Veena’ is one of the most important ancient musical instruments used in South Indian/carnatic classical music in the chordophone category. It’s an independent solo instrument as it can perform all the intricate embellishments of the vocal improvisation. The ‘Saraswati Veena’ is believed to be the Instrument always carried by Goddess Saraswati in her hands; the Hindu Godess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. It is assumed that the word veena might have been derived from its ancestor “Vana” a string instrument mentioned in the ‘Rig Veda’the oldest layer of Sanskrit text and scriptures of Hinduism.


Physics of Veena

This quite complex acoustic instrument was first discussed by Nobel laureate physicist Sir. CV Raman. If a string is plucked at a point of aliquot division, the harmonics having a node at the point of excitation should be entirely absent in accordance by the Young and Helmholtz law. It will be found that the overtone having a node at the plucked point sings out powerfully on trying the experiment with the Veena. Authors concluded that the effect of the special form of bridge is completely to set aside the validity of the Young-Helmholtz law and actually to manufacture a powerful sequence of overtones including those which ought not to have been elicited according to that law. In the 'Veena' the upper surface of the bridge is of curved metal and the string leaves it at a tangent. The tones of these instruments show a remarkable, powerful series of overtones which gives them a bright and pleasing quality. Experiment with this instrument shows that the validity of the Young-Helmholtz law according to which partials having a node at the plucked point should not be excited is completely set aside.

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