WHAT IS A RAGMAKAMTAR?
The Ragmakamtar is a unique and new instrument invented and constructed
by Edward Powell between the years 2006 to present. To this date there
currently exists 14 original prototype versions of the Ragmakamtar, each
version manifesting a particular stage in the development of this new
invention. The original intention was to create a double-neck fretless
guitar with sympathetic strings - one neck to sound like an Arabian lute
(oud), and one neck to sound like an Indian lute (sarod).
Early Ragmakamtar versions were designed with guitar-type bodies but
it was soon understood that in order to achieve a more "oriental"
tone the body shape would have to resemble that of an oriental instrument.
Over the years the design eventually evolved into a lute-shaped instrument
with two short necks, one for oud strings, and the other for sarod strings.
Because of great differences in string types and playing techniques each
neck produces a entirely different tone; the oud neck giving a very deep,
rich, and warm Middle-eastern oud sound, and the sarod neck giving a clear,
pristine, and brilliant Indian sarod sound.
The name "Ragmakamtar" is derived from the words: "raga",
"makam", and "tar". Raga is the name for an Indian
musical mode. Makam is the name for an Oriental mode. Tar means string.
Indian and Oriental musics are modal musics which means that melodies
are created using a sophisticated and systematic modal melodic grammar.
There are hundreds of these melodic modes in use today. In India these
modes are called "ragas", and in the Middle-east they are called
"makams". Indian and Oriental musics originally came from the
same origins so therefore ragas and makams originally came from the same
source, but over time developed their own unique identities. The Ragmakamtar
is an instrument on which it is possible to simultaneously play, on one
instrument, both ragas and makams and hence rediscover and re-merge the
common ancestry of all Oriental musics..