Veena–classical Indian musical instrument (वीणा)
Veena is one of the three modes for expressions of music in India–Veena, Venu (Flute), and Vani (Voice). Veena (vīṇā) is an instrument associated with Goddess of Music and Education: Saraswati. She is hailed as Veena-vaadini, the one who plays this instrument called Veena. So, Veena gets a high pedestal in the family of Indian musical instrument. There are many types or variants of this instrument based on the size and other factors. Some of them are known as Rudra Veena, Saraswati Veena, Vichitra Veena etc.
History of Veena
As already mentioned, Veena is associated with Goddess Saraswati and therefore it is deemed as a divine musical instrument. However, the design of Veena has evolved a lot and there are many variants of Veena on the basis of design especially in South India, where it is a pretty popular musical instrument. It needs to be mentioned here that in North India, its appeal has been lost and people do not recognize whether it is Veena or Sitar.
Construction of Veena
The design is almost similar to any other musical string instrument of India; however, it is very big in size as compared to other instruments like Sitar, Sarod and Surbahar. The size of Veena is around 4′ in length. The main body consists of a hollow log, which is usually made of jackwood. There are around 24 frets made of brass or bell-metal. The base of Veena is quite huge and there is one smaller head at the upper end of this main body.
The Rudra Veena contains both the heads of similar radius and its main body is made of bamboo.
In recent times, famous Indian musician, Vishav Mohan Bhatt has developed new variants of Veena–Vishav Veena and Mohan Veena. He has conducted 20 years of research and has constructed these instrument by marrying Hawaiian Guitar and Indian Veena.
Concluding words about Veena
Veena has got special attention from Prof. C. V. Raman who maintained that it has got a special sound. No wonder that ancient musicians also maintained that Veena is the instrument that has gone closest to the human voice.