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Pocket Sitar is a virtual sitar for the iPhone

NPR posted the other day about an app that promised to simulate a sitar, the stringed instrument used mainly in Indian music. So just for you, dear readers, we downloaded it [iTunes link] and gave it a shot. The verdict? If you can already play the sitar, you'll probably find it a reasonable approximation. Just like the guitar simulators on the iPhone, there are various strings on screen that you can "strum," and the notes are labeled under the virtual strings. As for actually learning the sitar, however, you're probably out of luck. There's one instructional page, and links to eHow videos, but there's nothing solid in terms of actually learning the device.

And unfortunately, the app just feels pretty cheap -- there's a large part of the screen taken up with a one-hit sitar sound, and quite a few times, we'd try striking different strings and get the same notes, as if the app had bugged out and gotten stuck on one file. Of course, I can't play the sitar (though I'm pretty respectable on the guitar), so maybe I was just doing it wrong. But even a little experimentation with the app didn't bring up an easy way to do it right.

Still, NPR has a point -- you can't always carry your sitar around with you. If you want to pay 99 cents to have a Pocket Sitar around, this will app will probably strum your chikari.

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