Saturday, May 21, 2016

Indian Music- Desh Raga

Indian Music Has a long history of over 2,000 years Closely linked to Hinduism and religious philosophy. Hindu Gods are worshipped through performances of Raga, both vocal and instrumental. The God Shiva is linked with music and dance. Divided into 2 categories: 1) Northern India (the Hindustani tradition) 2) South ( the Carnatic tradition) This set work is taken from Northern India.
The oral tradition Indian music is not written down, it is taught through listening and playing by ear – The oral tradition. Indian families have a system of master-pupil teaching known as a ‘gharana’. Father teaches son and the son would pass this on to the next generation. Playing styles change as new techniques are added by generations and so the process is a dual one of consolidation and evolution of playing skills.
Elements of Raga 3 most common elements of Indian music are: 1) The Melody – made up of improvised notes from a particular rag. Sung by voice or played on an instrument such as the ‘Sitar’ or ‘Sarod’. 2) The Drone – a supporting ‘drone’ of usually one or two notes provided by the ‘Tambura’. 3) The Rhythm – a repetitive, cyclic rhythmic pattern plated by the ‘Tabla Drums’.
The Melody – the Rag Is the set melody on which the music is improvised. Like a scale a ‘rag’ ascends and descends but the pitches differ in either direction. Unlike western classical music scales, the number of notes in a rag will vary considerably. Some rags have just 5 notes, like the pentatonic scale. Other rags have 7/8 notes. Examples are: Vibhas Rag and the Kalyan Rag
Melody – The Rag (ctd.) There are over 200 rags and each has a particular mood (called a rasa) associated with it. Not only are there morning and night rags, but also celebration rags, seasonal rags and some associated with certain feelings and emotions. There is virtually a rag for every occasion.
The Drone No sense of harmony in Indian raga music – emphasis is placed purely on the melody. However as soon as the piece begins you will hear a supportive drone usually based on the tonic and dominant notes of the chosen rag. This is played by the tambura. Its function is to add a sense of tuning/intonation. Its ever-present sound also adds texture to the music as a whole.
Rhythm – The Tala Provided by small tabla drums. Most common tala is the ‘teental’ (or tintal), which is a 16-beat pattern (each beat called a matras), organised in 4 bars as 4+4+4+4. Some other talas are based on 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 beats per cycle. Complex rhythms called ‘bols’ are played over this and go against the main beat creating exciting syncopations.
Rhythm – The Tala These rhythms must start and end together precisely on the first beat of the cycle, called ‘sam’. During performances the instrumentalist and drummer can try to copy and ‘out-do’ each other whilst still keeping within the cycle of beats, leading to some very exciting performances
Structure of a raga performance Alap – Opening - unmetred and improvised. Jhor – second section of a raga – medium tempo with improvisation. Jhalla – the third section of a raga – the lively tempo and virutoso display of improvisatory skills. Gat – the final section of a raga – a fixed composition with some improvised embellishments. Bandish – also the final section if the piece is vocal.
Instruments The Voice The Sitar The Sarangi The Sarod The Tambura Tabla Flute (bansuri) Oboe (shehnai)
General The rag is traditionally played at night. Rag Desh (country) is also known as a rainy season or monsoon raga. Primary moods (rasa) expressed are devotion, romance and longing, with origins in courtly love songs called ‘thumri’. The notes used in Rag Desh are based on the indian system known as ‘sargam’ in which the notes are called: Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa (tonic note C – Sa)
Notes in Rag Desh are: Sa– CNi-Bb Re – DDha-A Ma – FPa-G Pa – GMa-F Ni - BGa -E Sa-CRe-D Sa-C
3 Versions of Rag Desh Version 1 – Anoushka Shankar (sitar) Version 2 – Mhara janam maran performed by Chiranji Lal Tanwar (voice) Version 3 – Benjy Wertheimer (esraj and tabla) and Steve Gorn (bansuri)
Anoushka Shankar (Sitar) Instruments: Sitar and Table Structure: 3 mvts – Alap, Gat 1 and Gat 2 0.00 – 0.55 – Alap (slow and unmetered. Sitar unaccompanied and explores the notes of the rag.) 0.55 – 9.27 – Gat 1 (Sitar plays fixed composition, added decoration and tempo is medium speed (madhyalaya)). Tabla enters at 0.58 seconds and plays the 10 beat jhaptal tala.
Jhaptal (10 beats): (2+3+2+3) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Clap clap wave clap Tabla player adds decoration to this basic pattern. Also flourishes and ornaments in the sitar part. Comprises complex patterns of scalic passages including dialogue with the tabla in short melodic and rhythmic improvisations The tihai is played to indicate the end of these improvisations (research tihai).
Version 1 (ctd.) 3.55 – Sitar starts to improvise in triplets (chand). 5.02 – Improvisations with 4 notes per beat – sitar followed by table alternating. Tihai is used to mark the end of these solo sections. 9.27 – Gat 2 – This is faster than the 1 st Gat and uses the common teental (tintal) 16-beat tala. This is grouped in 4, 4-beat units (4+4+4+4). 10.10 – In this final part of the rag, drone strings are used on the sitar in strumming fashion providing striking rhythmic effect (jhalla). Ends with a tihai.
Version 2: Mhara janam maran Instruments: voice, sarangi, sarod, pakhawaj, cymbals and tabla. Pakhawaj is a large double headed drum. This song is a Hindu devotional song from Rajasthan and is known as a bhajan. Song tells of tender waiting in longing anticipation of the arrival of Lord Krishna in the morning. Translation – You are my companion through life and death and I cannot forget you night and day. My heart pines for you and I feel totally restless when I am not able to see you.
Version 2 (ctd.) Structure: 2 mvts. – Alap, Bhajan (song) The Tal used in this piece is the 8-beat Keherwa Tal (2+2+2+2) 12345678 Clapclapwaveclap 0.00-0.50 – Alap –short intro as the sarod player, then singer, vocalises a melody in free time based on the notes of the rag. This is a version of the chorus.
Version 2 (end) 0.50- end – Bhajan - This is the fixed composition, in this case a song in verse form. 0.50 – Tabla joins in 1.10 – Short sarod solo 1.22 – Sarangi Dynamics and tempo increase and the music becomes fast and exciting. The pattern is established as a verse (1.32/3.04/4.50) followed by the first line used as a refrain (chorus), followed by more solos for the sarod and sarangi.
Version 3: Benjy Wertheimer and Steve Gorn Instruments: Bansuri, esraj, tambura and tabla. Esraj – a fretted stringed instrument played sitting on the floor. 0.00-8.35 – (part 1) – Alap – a slow unmeasured section, Drone established by the table from the outset on Sa (C) and Pa (G). The Bansuri (flute) comes in using notes from the rag itself. This develops from trying out various pitches in short fragments to a more developed melodic part.
Version 3 (ctd.) 0.00 – 4.41 – (part 2) – Gat 1 – This is at a slow tempo. There is a lyrical unaccompanied melody for the bansuri and the tabla comes in at 0.31 playing the 7- beat rupak tala. Rupak Tala: (7 beats: 3+2+2) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Waveclapclap
Version 3 (ctd.) 0.43 – Fixed composition begins. After this the music becomes more agitated and dramatic as improvisation takes over around the gat, while table played also embellishes upon the original tala pattern. Bansuri then plays the Gat repeatedly whilst the tala played improvises around the tala cycle. 3.32 – The two instruments swap function, so that the bansuri improvises while the table accompanies. Several tihais are heard to mark out section ends. The last of these leads into the second gat at 4.41
Version 3 (end) 4.41 – end (part 3) Gat 3 – A fast tempo (drut) in ektal tala. Ektal tal (12 beats: 2+2+2+2+2+2) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Clap clap wave clap wave clap This is a 12-beat ektal tala. The table sets a fast tempo and the bansuri plays an elaborate gat containing wide ranges of pitch, scalic runs and slides. These fast scale passages are called tans. Several tihais are heard as the music draws to a close.

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