Tuesday, March 01, 2011

nAda: the har-peh-jee

nAda: the har-peh-jee

the har-peh-jee

As a vocalist, I tend to want an accompaniment. I have been using the piano, keyboards, guitar and whatever else that might ornament the melody. While I somehow have just managed with an instrument, I have always wanted to play an instrument well. A month ago, I read about the 'harpejji' and was pleased to see it being performed at the Oscars last weekend. (By A.R.Rahman for the song "If I rise").

The harpejji is a tapping instrument - which is where sound is created by tapping the string against a fret board, unlike strumming or plucking. It has a total of 24 bass and treble strings. It has a marking system that identifies all notes of a piano via a black and white code. This combination of colour coding and strings makes it accessible to pianists, keyboardists, guitarists and bass guitarists. The fact that it is isomorphic (which means that any given interval has the same shape/pattern wherever played) makes it easy for untrained pianists/keyboardists. Also, because of the way the notes are spaced, it makes it possible to play new chord intervals. I like how it supposedly does not force one to play known chord progressions but allows for exploring new chords/notes and tone. Each string has a pickup which reduces the possibility of sustain. The tuning is in place by a screw unlike traditional winding. I am not sure what to comment on this, until I try it myself. It has two separate pre-amps, one each for bass and melody. This would allow for separate effects.
The harpejji was invented by Marcodi Musical Products. I am quite intrigued by this instrument for all the above reasons mentioned. I hope to try it someday. Here is a peek at dream theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess playing the harpejji

(pic courtesy:examiner.com)