The collection of loops and one shots in this selection were produced on instruments that are hybrid in nature they are bespoke and are not commonly found in your average music shop or any other loop packs!
Important notes on the loops
The Sitouki is a hybrid instrument which is hallway between a Sitar and a Bouzouki. It sounds like a sitar but allows for different techniques that are not possible on a Sitar. The Sitar is now a hugely popular instrument which features in many compositions, these particular loops from the Sitouki will give you the edge.
The SazOud or just 'Oud' in the loop packs is an attempt at fusing the sound of two Turkish instruments into one; with nylon fretless Oud and the steel understrung Saz drones. When striking the nylon strings the Saz strings are struck in sympathy by the nylon strings, a very unique sound. The sounds are akin to other eastern instruments such as the Sarod.
Swarmandal and Tampoura
These are both Indian accompaniment drone based instruments and as such seldom take on melodic duties. The Tampoura is a bass drone instrument and the Swarmandal is a form of Indian harp both of which were popularised in the 60s primarily through music of The Beatles. For example Tampoura features heavily on the track Tomorrow Never Knows and the Swarmandal is a prime feature in the song Strawberry Fields Forever.
Here both instruments are grafted on to one body which sets up counter resonances. Many of the loops for both of these instruments are played in a more contemporary way than is normally the case in Indian classical music.
Percussion loops have been added as a bonus to enhance the pack and provide rhythmic context for the loops, these include:
The Sitouki used as percussion instrument
Keys or Indian Ragas
All instruments are predominantly based around the tonal centre of D which the exception of the Sitouki where a capo is used to bring about an F tonality. Drones and modal playing (Ragas) is the norm for most eastern instrumentation.
However there are many ways of interpret these tonal centres in other keys outside of D both in minor and major variations.
D = Major: Can be played over the keys of:
G major/E minor
A major/F# Minor
Dm = DMinor
D Harmonic and Melodic Minor
Some playing is based around other Minor modes Ragas these include:
Lydian Dominant or the Indian scale of Vachaspati (pronounced Vāchaspati, meaning Lord of speech) is the fourth mode the melodic minor scale and can be interchanged between minor and major tonalities to create interesting tensions
Phrygian Dominant or the Indian scale of Indian scale called Vakulabharanam (pronounced vakuḷābharaṇam) is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale and is the most tense sounding of the scales often referred to as the 'Spanish Gypsy Scale' it is used in Arabic, Turkish and Jewish music extensively.
A word on meter and timings and Indian Talas
Eastern/Indian phrasing and bar length (Talas) is seldom based on a four count or common time. As such the phrasing on many of the loops run right across bar lines. The lengths of the loop bars are normally between 4 and 8 bars of 4/4 but there are some longer, shorter and irregular lengths to suit the length of the phrase and maintain authenticity and integrity. It is highly recommended that you experiment with the start point of loop in your DAW to set up or counteract anacrusis phrasing for example. Many of the loops follow simpler more western based rhythms and phrases and these can be use in a more usual manner.