New Delhi: On April 7, 1920 Indian sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar was born. One of the best-known exponents of the stringed instrument, Shankar evangelised the use of Indian instruments in Western music.
Born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, Shankar's music popularised the fundamentals of Indian music - raga - which he once said has,"its own peculiar ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven-note octave, or a series of six or five notes in a rising or falling structure."
As Google explains in its doodle blog, the distinctive character of Shankar's compositions attracted the attention of composer Philip Glass with whom Shankar wrote the 1990 album Passages.
Shankar used to perform frequently with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and also taught George Harrison of the Beatles how to play the sitar.
He widely influenced popular music in the 1960s and 70s. Dedicated to the master sitar player on what would have been his 96th birth anniversary, today's doodle shows two bridges, one for the 'drone' strings and the other for the melody strings. Artist Kevin Laughlin has put a sitar as the doodle's centerpiece; the style which Shankar played that includes a second gourd-shaped resonator at the top of the instrument's neck.
Shankar died on December 11, 2012 following illness.
To see archival photos of Shankar at the Google Cultural Institute, follow this.