Google Doodle Honors Ravi Shankar

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Today’s Google Doodle — the one with the sitar and the vines — is dedicated to Pandit Ravi Shankar. Today is what would have been Shankar’s 96th birthday.

This musician, whose influence on the Beatles was widely documented in the West, was famous for his sitar-playing.

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“Shankar’s music popularized the fundamentals of Indian music, including raga, a melodic form,” Google said on its Doodle blog. “Raga, as Shankar explained, 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.’”

The sitar in the doodle represents Shankar’s particular style. According to Google, it “has two bridges, one for the “drone” strings and the other for the melody strings” and “includes a second gourd-shape resonator at the top of the instrument’s neck.”

The doodle, drawn by artist Kevin Laughlin, is being displayed on Google’s homepage in only a handful of countries including the US, the UK, Sweden, Lithuania, Serbia, Greece, Isreal, Kazakhstan, Japan, Indonesia and India.

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