Chris Mendez in Music Industry, Sitar

Sitar: Basic practice for right hand

I'm using the exercises below build strength and control in my right hand. Part of my daily routine is to turn on iTabla Pro, set the tempo to 80bpm (beats per minute) and go up and down a major scale. Once I complete 80bpm, I increase the tempo to 100bpm, then 120bpm, then 140bpm.

I can't stress this enough, buy iTabla Pro. It's a must have. Yes, a metronome from ONYX or Pro Metronome will work too but they're not the right tool for sitar.


Da & Ra

Then it comes to picking, Da means stroke upward and Ra means stroke downward. If this sounds unclear, I'll say id differently.

Position your right hand as if it were holding an imaginary cup. Now, when you grip your hand, that's Da and when you release your hand that's Ra.

Exercise #1

Up Up Up Up, Down Down Down Down.

DaDaDaDa RaRaRaRa 

Exercise #2

Up Down, Up Down, Up Down, Up Down

DaRa DaRa DaRa DaRa

Exercise #3

Also known as 3 3 2. Up Down Up, Up Down Up, Up Down.

DaRaDa DaRaDa DaRa

Exercise #4

Also known as 3 2 3. Up Down Up, Up Down, Up Down Up.

DaRaDa DaRa DaRaDa

Exercise #5

Also known as 2 3 3

DaRa DaRaDa DaRaDa

Exercise #6

RaDaRaDa RaDaRaDa

Exercise #7

3 3 2

RaDaRa RaDaRa RaDa

Exercise #8

3 2 3

RaDaRa RaDa RaDaRa

Exercise #9

2 3 3

RaDa RaDaRa RaDaRa

Exercise #10

Diri is similar to 16th notes. So think of the next exercise as 4 x 16th notes, then 6 x 8th notes.


1 e + a  2 +  3 +  4 +
DiriDiri DaRa DaRa DaRa 

Exercise #11

1 + 2e+a 3 + 4 +

DaRa DiriDiri DaRa DaRa

Exercise #12

DaRa DaRa DiriDiri DaRa

Exercise #13

DaRa DaRa DaRa DiriDiri

Exercise #14

DiriDiri DiriDiri DaRa DaRa

Exercise #15

DiriDiri DaRa DiriDiri DaRa

Exercise #16

DaRa DaRa DiriDiri DaRa

Exercise #17

DaRa DaRa DiriDiri DiriDiri

Exercise #18

DaRaDa DaRaDa DaRa DiriDiri DaRa DaRa DaRa

Exercise #19

DaRaDa DaRaDa DaRa DaRa DiriDiri DaRa DaRa

Exercise #20

DaRaDa DaRaDa DaRa DaRa DaRa DiriDiri DaRa

Exercise #21

DaRaDa DaRaDa DaRa DaRa DaRa DaRa DiriDiri