The veena, or vina, is a string instrument with a large lute-like resonator body. There many types of the fretted veena including the rudra, sagar and saraswati with a varied range of 3 to 5 octaves. The term can also be also used to refer to the sitar or sarod. The veena originated in India where it is known for playing Hindustani music.
History of the Veena
The veena is an ancient instrument with a long history in Asia. It is believed to have originated in South India. In sanskrit, the word veena is loosely translated to mean any plucked string instrument which made the term a generic word for stringed instruments. There is a lot of mythology around the veena and early forms of the instrument appear to have been referenced in Vedic literature dating back almost 3,000 years ago. Wall paintings and sculptures of veena players in India date back to the 1st century and the goddess Saraswati, who is famously often depicted playing a veena, is first depicted in the 6th century. The seven-string veena slowly became standardised in the 10th century, however, many variations still exist including the sagar veena, vichitra veena and the unusual rudra veena which has two gourd-like bodies and one neck, while the mahanataka vina has 20 strings. The impressive design of the veena and its cultural significance in India has maintained its popularity with players who mostly play the instrument seated. In the 1980s attempts were made to electrify the veena with Western pickups. The veena is still best known today for playing Hindustani music.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£900 - £1,500

Hear the Veena

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How to Play

A plucked stringed instrument from India, played by holding the instrument horizontally and plucking the strings.

In Popular Music

The veena is a traditional indian stringed instrument and it has rarely been recorded and credited in popular western music recordings. Some indian songs that include the veena played are 'Kriti', 'Nagumomu' and 'Maiyya Yashoda' from Bollywood drama musical Hum Saath - Saath Hain.

Famous Players

E. Gayathri, S. Balachander, S. Ballesh

Close Relations

Sitar, Sarod
Video Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Understanding the Veena










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