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‘Mohan Veena’ – Indian Classical Instrumental Music by Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt

  • Tsang Shiu Tim Art Hall HKUST (map)
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‘Mohan Veena’ – Indian Classical Instrumental Music by Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt with Abhishek Mishra on tabla


The program is a Lecture-Demonstration in Indian Classical Instrumental Music of the Hindustani or North Indian style. Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic. Hindustani music emphasizes improvisation and exploring all aspects of a raga, while Carnatic performances tend to be short and composition-based. The roots of the classical music of India are found in the Vedic literature of Hinduism and the ancient Natyashastra, the classic Sanskrit text on performance arts by Bharata Muni. The 13th century Sanskrit text Sangita-Ratnakara of Sarangadeva is regarded as the definitive text by both the Hindustani music and the Carnatic music traditions. Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle. The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time. There is no concept of harmony in Indian classical music.

Indian Raga music being time and season based, the artist generally perform a raga according to the season, time of the day and the mood of the setting. For this program, a raag such as Vrindavani Sarang, Shuddh Sarang, Madhyamad Sarang, Madhuvanti, Bhimpalasi, Gaud Saarang, Multani may be chosen which will be explored with Alap (slow tempo exploration of the main notes), Jod Jhala (faster exploration of the main notes), Vilambit Gat (slow rhythmic composition) and Drut Gat (fast whythmic composition) with Tabla providing the appropriate taal (beats). Explanation of Indian classical music and the instrumental form will be provided and audience can ask questions in the end.

Artist Biography

Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Creator of the MOHAN VEENA and the winner of the Grammy Award, Vishwa Mohan has mesmerized the world with his pristine pure, delicate yet fiery music. It is due to Vishwa's maiden effort that he rechristened guitar as Mohan Veen and established it at the highest level in the mainstream of Indian Classical Music scenario. Being the foremost disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Vishwa Mohan belongs to that elite body of musicians which traces its origin to the Moghal emperor Akbar's court musician Tansen and his guru the Hindu Mystic Swami Haridas. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has attracted international attention by his successful indianisation of the western Hawaiian guitar with his perfect assimilation of Sitar, Sarod & Veena techniques. With blinding speed and faultless legato, Bhatt is undoubtedly one of the most expressive, versatile and greatest slide player s in the world.

Abhishek Mishra
Delhi based oung Tabla (Indian drums) player Abhishek Mishra belongs to the Benaras gharana (school) being a disciple of Pt Sharda Sahai. He has been accompanying leading soloists of Hindustani classical music such as vocalists Pt Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Sri Sarathi Chaterjee, Sitarist Prateek Choudhury and Pt Viswamohan bhatt among others.

About the instrument - Mohan Veena

Indian stringed instruments have undergone many changes throughout history . Many western musical instruments like violin, harmonium, mandolin, archtop guitar and electric guitar have come to be accepted in Indian classical music. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt developed and named this hybrid slide guitar and has been added to the list of Indian classical instruments. The Mohan Veena is a highly modified concord archtop, which Bhatt plays lap-style. It has 19 strings: three melody strings and four three drone strings coming out of the peg heads, and 12 sympathetic strong to tuners mounted to a piece of wood added to the side of the neck. The melody strings are on what we would consider the treble side of the neck, and the drone strings are on the bass side. The drone strings are lower in height than the melody strings to allow for unrestricted playing of the melody strings. The sympathetic strings run underneath the melody and drone strings to yet another level in the bridge. The instrument has a carved spruced top, mahogany back and sides, a mahogany neck, and a flat, fret-less, rosewood fingerboard. The Mohan Veena is under tremendous tension; the total strings pull to be in excess of 500 pounds. It is due to this high tension the tone tuns incredible with the sympathetic ringing out and strengthening each note played. This is a loud instrument made to cut through with low amplification.

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  • There will not be audience seating. Comfortable clothing is advised. People with needs may take the seats placed at the back of the performance area.
  • Audience are required to take off their shoes after entering the Art Hall.

Free admission
All are welcome
No admission under the age of 6
Walk-ins welcome 

Presented by the HKUST Center for the Arts