the sitar project  
last updated October 17, 2009
   
a
Technique           The music
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Holding sitar Playing strokes Making notes Playing patterns Maintenance   Understand Rag
Performance    
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Jor
  Understand tal
Higher
Improvise four note jor phrases 1x and 2x speed

Jor is the second stage of the performance after alap. In this stage we begin to hear rhythm - using the chikari strings. This stage is still solo, tabla only comes in with the gat. The basic Jor has a four beat pattern and, just as alap, explores the raag systematically. As in the alap at the end of each section exploring the main notes of the raag a special phrase called the Mohra is played. This is like a full stop. After Jor comes Jor-Jhala and Ulti Jhala which concludes the alap section of a performance.

The pulse of Jor is established by playing this very simple passage. Play this several times to establish the jor and the pulse.

To start with make this pattern your subject. This means that you come back to this pattern at the end of each of your short improvised phrases.
 
Make up four note phrases, each time following them with the Sa pattern above. Here are some examples.

After you have played four of five phrases finishing on Sa, play the mohra (see below)

 
Then choose a different subject, which should as for alap be the next prominent note in unfolding the raag. In the case of rag yaman the next note would probably be low Pa. So all your phrases should end with this phrase.  

Once you have explored the rag in jor up to the upper octave, return to Sa and then play the mohra.

You should then approximately double the speed and repeat the process. It becomes harder at faster speed to maintain the sense of ease and constant pulse so focus on this in your practice.

This is the basic jor and you should practice it this way to start with. You can develop this in many ways:

- add meend to the notes - but since jor is based on Dhrupad style vocal music you should avoid complicated ornaments used in the khyal or thumri vocal styles
- add some occasional double speed notes instead of the chikaris
- add some tan like passages
- instead of using a four times repeated note as a subject, use some other phrase finishing on the note you are exploring

 

Play mohra

The mohra in jor is a truncated version of the mohra from alap:

This can be quite difficult to fit in seamlessly to the rhythmic flow of the jor, so practice this aspect very carefully.

 

Play jor-jhala

The jor-jhala uses the stroke pattern shown on the Playing Strokes page, combined with improvisation and the note patterns shown on the page Playing patterns. Playing this succesfully requires stamina to maintain the right hand pattern whilst maintaining the left hand melody.

 

Play rela

Rela is a 16 beat cycle without tabla. The stroke pattern is the same as for jor-jhala but, apart from the first one, the Da strokes are played on the jora string. You play this pattern with a four note descending phrase. The notation seems complicated, but once you have mastered the pattern it is not too difficult, though it requires stamina to keep it going at speed.

What you then do, is instead of playing Sa, play a short tan in four beats and then return to the descending phrase. Here are some simple examples:

 

Play Ulti jhala

The Ulti jhala uses the stroke pattern shown on the Playing Strokes page, combined with improvisation and the note patterns shown on the page Playing patterns. This forms the concluding section of the alap. Even though this section is very rhythmical it does not use tabla. Again this section requires considerable stamina.