Rag Desh (Background Context (Instruments used in raga
Gods are often worshipped through performances of raga, both vocal and instrumental
The set work is from the North Indian, Hindustani tradition.
Instruments used in raga
meend - sliding between notes
tan - fast improvised passages
Voice - the most highly-regarded instrument. Through singing, it is possible to talk to the gods.
Sarod - Similar to sitar with two sets of strings but lower range and heavier tone. No frets and metal fingerboard.
Sitar - Plucked string instrument. Seven strings, two are used for drone notes. Underneath these are sympathetic strings which vibrates when the top ones are plucked.
Sarangi - smaller than sitar, no frets, played with a bow.
Tambura - simple, four strings and a resonator. Used to play drone accompaniment.
Pakhawaj -a barrel-shaped, two-headed drum (with a funny name)
Tabla - set of two small drums. Small wooden one is tabla, larger metal one is baya. Skin drum heads. Used to play rhythmic cycle known as the tala as well as improvising.
Bansuri - wooden flute with holes, not keys. By half covering holes and varying the blowing, a wide range of pitches and sliding effects are possible.
Slow and meditative
No sense of metre (free time)
soloist “explores” notes of raga, sets mood.
accompanied by tambura drone
Regular pulse established
improvising becomes more rhythmic
music more elaborate and tempo increases
Fast pulse. Exciting, complex rhythms
high point of piece
virtuoso playing using advanced techniques
Moderate to fast
Tabla introduce tala
“fixed” composition introduced.
if vocal, a song (bandish), if instrumental a prepared solo (gat)
dialogue between instrumentalist and drummer with improvised flourishes on melodic line
Version 3 - Wertheimer & Gorn: Rag Desh, Pt 3
Bansuri (flute), Esraj (similar to the Sarangi - has a longer neck, frets) Tambura and Tabla
ALAP – slow and unmetred. Drone is established by Tambura playing the notes C (sa) and G (pa). Bansuri enters exploring the notes of the raga
GAT1 – slow tempo, Bansuri plays lyrical, unaccompanied melody and the tabla enters playing RUPAK tala (7 beats).
Bansuri and tabla player embellish and improvise upon their original patterns. Instruments then swap Bansuri improvises, Tabla accompanies
GAT2 – Fast tempo. Tabla now uses EKTAL tala (12 beats).
Bansuri plays an elaborate melody with wide-ranging pitch, fast scale passages (tans) and slides.
Several TIHAIS bring the music to a close.
Drone continues shortly after melody ends.