Tānpūra laboratory

All the melodic material in the performance of any genre of Hindustani classical music is born from a fundamental sound called ṣaḍja, abbreviated as sa. The instrument in charge of keeping this fundamental sound along the whole performance is the tānpūra. This laboratory allows to practice listening to the sa from the tānpūra. To use all its functionalities, the tool needs access to the computer's microphone, and the use of headphones is advised. Read the instructions below.


Note: This tool still is work in progress and might experience some malfunctions. For an optimal performance, it is advised to use it in a computer (its use in tablets and cellphones might be too slow and cause synchronization problems) and with the browser Chrome.

  1. To start using the laboratory, click the "Start!" button and the tānpūra will be ready to be played.
  2. To listen to the tānpūra click the "Play" button, and it will uninterruptedly sound until the "Stop" button is clicked.
  3. Listen to the tānpūra carefully. If you are not clear about the pitch of sa, keep pressed the "SA" button to listen to it.
  4. Once you clearly perceive the pitch of sa, try with a new tānpūra tuning. For that, click the "Retune" button. Every time you click this button you will listen different tānpūra samples, with different tunings and speeds, and from both acoustic and electronic tānpūras.
  5. Once you fill confident in the perception of the pitch of sa from different tānpūra samples, it is time for practice! In the upper left dropdown menu select "Practice mode," and a new "Record" button appears. This mode requires the use of the microphone, so the browser might display a message asking permission for its access.
  6. Click the "Play" button to listen to the tānpūra. Once you are sure about the sa, single click the "Record" button and sing it sustainedly along with the tānpūra. The tānpūra laboratory will record your voice during 5 seconds and it will automatically stop recording after that time. To ensure a good recording quality, please use headphones during the recording.
  7. Now you can check how well you did by clicking the "Listen to yourself!" button. To ensure that you sang the correct sa, you can click the "SA" button while you listen to your recording. It might be you sang in a different octave, but this is still correct!
  8. The tānpūra laboratory allows to use the study and practice modes in three different levels::
    • In level 1, all tānpūra samples are tuned according to the most common tuning, "Pa Ṡa Ṡa Sa".
    • Level 2 includes all samples from level 1, as well as samples with other tunings, such as "Ma Ṡa Ṡa Sa", "Ni Ṡa Ṡa Sa" or "Dha Ni Ṡa Sa".
    • Level 3, besides samples from levels 1 and 2, includes 30 seconds segments from khayāl recordings, in which you have to listen to the tānpūra while the singer performs a rāg.