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Article: Review: RiyazStudio

By Haresh Bakshi

The product: RiyazStudio, a PC-based software
The Company URL:

RiyazStudio is a PC-based software designed as an environment for practice (riyaz) for North Indian musicians (singers and instrument players). It comprises real tabla and tanpura loops.

The tanpura and the Drone section:

The tanpura plays "PSS"S, "mSS"S, "NSS"S ('Pooriya' tuning), "dSS"S ('ToDi' tuning, with komal Dha), and "DSS"S ('Marwa' tuning, with shuddha Dha). The Drone provides the reed-based (shruti box/swara-peti) "filler" sound matching, supporting and reinforcing the tanpura sound. The drone and tanpura can be turned off individually as well as simultaneously. Likewise, the volumes of the drone and tanpura can be adjusted separately as well as simultaneously.There are 18 keys (semi-tone apart) provided for the simultaneous tuning of tanpura and drone (and Tabla). Optionally, you can tune them using the "-1 octave" option, which lowers the sound one octave.

The Tabla section:

The seven taals offered are: Teental, Ektal, Rupaktal, Jhaptal, Addha Tal, Keherwa and Dadra. The four tempos (laya) are available: Vilambit, up to 70 beats per minute (bpm) speed; madhya, from 71 to 140 bpm; drut, from 141 to 350 bpm; and ati drut, from 351 onwards. The provision for the window which displays the bpm reading is a very useful feature. You can select any of the 150 tabla loops provided in the software, without affecting the pitch or the tempo of the tabla.

The Fine Tuning feature:

This is by far the most significant feature. Here, you can fine- tune tanpura, drone and tabla simultaneously. The provided window reads to the accuracy of three places after decimal. You can use +/- sign to do this, or, you can enter the data in the window which shows the reading as X.XXX, making the fine tuning quite sensitive. This makes available to the user the 'reverse tuning', where the tanpura-drone-tabla can be tuned to the pitch of his instrument.

A separate fine tuning is available for the tabla. It displays X.XX, but I think it can be used as X.XXX for greater sensitivity.

The keyboard short cuts:

  Space bar: starts / stops tabla
  D: starts / stops drone and tanpura
  B: change tabla speed: press "B" three or more times at the new speed
  <--/--> switch to style of slower (more detailed) / faster (less detailed) cycle   down/up arrow: slow down / speed up
  Ctrl: hold down to keep the same tabla sample as you change speed.

The display and other features:

You can select the visual linear matra-by-matra display of the taal as it proceeds.

RiyazStudio remembers your pitch, volume and speed settings from one session to the next.

Holding the mouse over the different controls on the RiyazStudio screen shows what those controls do.

It is nice to have good quality speakers to faithfully reproduce the excellent digital quality sound available in RiyazStudio.

The tabla has been played tastefully and tunefully.

RiyazStudio fills a long-felt need of the musicians for accompaniment -- and it does that in a very simple and useful way. RiyazStudio is a great value.

Haresh Bakshi. 9/7/2006



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