The Optigan guys are looking for input on a planned Optigan Sitar Disc – one that was promised back in the 70s but never realized:
The original Optigan owner’s manual names many instruments on its cover that are allegedly playable on the Optigan. Included in this list is SITAR, though no Optigan disc ever actually featured sitar, and indeed there are no recordings of sitar on the Optigan master tapes. Well, we intend to make good on that promise made by Mattel so long ago.
The only question is, how to go about putting sitar sounds on an Optigan disc? It’s a bit of a tricky question, for a number of reasons. First, Indian classical music most definitely does NOT follow the same sort of musical “rules” as Western music. Specifically, there’s no concept of chord progressions, only melody over drone, with rhythmic counterpoint. This obviously doesn’t fit readily with the Optigan’s paradigm of chord buttons accompanying a lead keyboard sound. Also, the distinctive timbre of the sitar has alot to do with the complexity of its upper harmonics, and since the Optigan tops out at about 5kHz, most of those harmonics will be absent on an Optigan disc.
This is an interesting project – so, if you’re an Optigan owner, check out the options at their site and give them your input!