Pipa: The traditional lute of China

The Pipa is a 4 stringed instrument that is played by attaching pics to all 5 fingers with tape. This method allows for many picking techniques from rapid finger rolls to percussive strikes and gentle plucking. Chinese music is traditionally pre-composed pieces played with an individual nuance, but Chris is experimenting with improvisation on the Pipa - an homage to the instruments legacy on the Silk Road where improvisational music from diverse cultures intermingled. Chris also performs traditional Chinese music pieces interwoven with improvisations. 

Sitar: The iconic Indian instrument

The Sitar is likely the most well-known instrument Chris plays. The instrument was made famous in Western culture by Pandit Ravi Shankar. The instrument has 20 strings, most of which simply vibrate on their own and provide an echo effect, and extended frets to allow for bending of notes. Chris plays the instrument in the traditional improvised manner of developing a Raga - a melodic framework which gradually evolves from slow and melodic to fast and rhythmic. 

Oud: The Historic ancestor of all lutes

The Oud is an ancient instrument, with a 5000 year history in the cradle of civilization: the Middle East. The instrument has 12 double coursed strings, no frets, and a bowl shape that gives the instrument a deep, crisp sound. Many styles of playing Oud exist as the instrument can be found from Morrocco to Iran and from Turkey to Sudan and all points in between. Chris attempts to blend these styles together into a cohesive expression which is an homage to each and his own unique style. 

Tar: The Persian Lute

The Tar is the national instrument of Iran and Azerbaijan. It has 3 double course strings and frets tied at micro-tonal intervals. The distinctive shape and resonating membrane of the instrument create a unique sound unlike any other. Persian music uses a mixture of improvisation and composition called the Radif - part of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It's melodic framework called Dastgah allows performers to use these historic melodies to explore and create a dynamic and mesmerizing scenery of music with complex rhythmic patterns. 

Saz: A Turkish Lute

This instrument is a Turkish variant on a common long necked bowl backed lute found across Central Asia known as the Tanbur. The frets are placed at microtonal intervals like the Persian Tar and the body is similar to the oud. But the sound and style of playing are uniquely Turkish. Using a regional version of the Arabic maqam and Persian Dastgah as well as blending in regional Anatolian and Caucasian folk melodies, the music of the Turkish Saz has many enchanting flavors. The most common technique requires very fast string picking patterns.