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Topic 1a, How to hold the Saaj

The saaj is bowed with the right hand, and fretted with the left hand. It is placed in the left shoulder and played in a seated position on the floor. In other words, you cannot play the saaj effectively seated on a chair.

The saaj is positioned to the left of your body and ideally aligning closely with your left knee assuming you are sitting cross legged. Placing the saaj towards the centre of your body is not helpful because the left arm must now fret at an angle. The saaj must sit firmly in place, it must not move. Holding the saaj in place with a ring or your foot can help stabilise it.

Once in place, the saaj should rest without needing support. It should not slide off your shoulder and you should not need to hold it in place.

Sit in an upright position, don’t lean left, right, forward, back, don’t slouch.

In the early stages, it helps to sit in front of a mirror and observe everything.

  1. Place saaj on left shoulder. We always play frets with left hand and bow with right. As time progresses, you will begin to hear the saaj through your body, you will also begin to feel a connection with the instrument.
  2. Place saaj on a ring or hold with foot.
  3. Saaj should sit slightly to left of body, insofar as possible. Turn the saaj inwards a bit if it helps.
  4. The saaj must rest on your body without you needing to hold it.
  5. Ensure body is straight up, not leaning to left right, nor leaning forward/back

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