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Rag Desh Year 10

GCSE Music set works AoS4 Rag Desh
by

Jonathan Galbraith

on 12 November 2012

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Transcript of Rag Desh Year 10

Area of Study 4
World Music Rag Desh Rag Desh - Learning Outcomes To develop an understanding of improvising techniques in the context of Indian music

To look at alternative approaches to the use of melody and harmony

To understand the role of the drone, rag and rhythmic tala in Indian music

To be able to compare the different realisations of the rag, understanding why the same rag can be interpreted so differently and expressing their findings using appropriate musical vocabulary. Indian Music Indian music has a long history, going back more
than 2000 years.

It is closely linked to Hinduism and religious philosophy.

The many Hindu gods are often worshiped through performances of raga, both vocal and instrumental.

In particular, the god Shiva is associated with music and dance in Hindu philosophy and there are many pieces in praise and honour of this particular deity

The music of India can be divided into two great musical traditions:
the music of Northern Indian (the Hindustani tradition)
The music of the South (Carnatic tradition) This set work is taken from the Indian classical tradition of Northern India Indian Music - The Oral Tradition Unlike Western classical music, Indian music is not written down as conventional musical notation.

Instead it is taught through listening and playing by ear - called the oral tradition.

Indian families have a system of maser-pupil teaching known as gharana

A father might teach his son how to play through an intensive course involving listening and memorising. The son would then pass on his skills to the next generation and so on.

However, playing styles will inevitable change as new techniques are added and subsequent generations and so the process is a duel one of consolidation and evolution of playing skills Elements of a raga The three most common elements in indian classical music are:

- the Melody
made up (improvised) from notes of a particular rag. Sun by a voice or played by an instrument such as the sitar or sarod - the drone
a supporting 'drone' of usually one or two notes played by the tambura - the rhythm
a repetitive, cyclic rhythm pattern played by the tabla Melody - the rag A rag is a fixed scale, although it is sometimes different going up and coming down.

Rags are associated with moods, e.g. loneliness, bravery, eroticism. This is known as rasa. With particular times of day or year, or with certain ceremonial occasions.
The Rag used in the three versions of set work is the Rag Desh.

This is a late evening rag associated with the monsoon season.

In Indian music a system known as sargam is used for naming the notes:

Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa.

The tonic, or ground note, is Sa (this is heard in the drone). Melody - the rag Drone accompaniment - the tambura There is no sense of harmony in Indian raga music

However, from the very first notes of a piece, you will hear a supportive drone played by the tambura.

This usually sounds the tonic and dominate notes of the chosen rag.

Its function is to keep a sense of tuning or intonation as a reference point for the melodic part, such as the sitar.

Its ever-present sound adds texture to the music as a whole The tal or tala is a repeating rhythm pattern usually played by the tabla.

It usually has between six and sixteen beats.

The beats are grouped into bars.

The first beat of the cycle is known as sam.

It marks the beginnings and ends of improvisations so it is often accented.

Tintal (or teental) is the most common tal. It has the following characteristics:

•sixteen beats (4 + 4 + 4 + 4)(each beat is called a matras)
•four sections beginning on the 1st, 5th, 9th and 13th beats

It is common to mark tala by hand, claps and waves.

In tintal, the beginning of the first, second and fourth sections is marked by a clap, but the beginning of the third section is weaker and this is shown by a wave of the hand.

The actions (clap and wave) are visual indications used by the tutor to help show where you are within the Tal.









The different words of the vocal memonics: Dha; Din; and Ta represent the type of sound that the Tabla player is trying to get out of the drums by hitting them on different parts of the skin and with different parts of the hand Rhythm - the tala Rhythm - the tala Learn it!!

You have 5 minutes to create an improvisation using the notes if rag desh The structure of a raga performance A raga performance usually has a structure based on defined sections called the alap, jhor, jhalla and gat (which is called a banish if the piece is vocal)

However...
some sections can be omitted - for example, a raga might just have an alap

Raga performances can vary vastly in time - up to five hours in some cases! some performances can last all night!

This is the set melody on which the music is improvised

It is a cross between pitch and a scale – however the pitches often differ in each direction

The notes in a Rag vary – some have 5 notes like a pentatonic scale whilst others have 7 or 8 notes

There are over 200 different Rags!
The drone is a replacement for a real sense of harmony like Western Music

The notes are usually the Tonic and Dominant (I – V) of a chosen Rag

It keeps a sense of tuning/ intonation as a reference point for the melodic parts

The sound adds texture to the whole piece The Tabla drums gives repeated rhythmic cycles called Tala
The rhythm patterns (bols) are independent of the beat and can be inventive – creating syncopation
They must however start and end precisely on the first beat of the cycle (called Sam) c Melody characteristics recap Drone characteristics recap Rhythm characteristics recap Indian instruments used in raga performance The Voice Very highly regarded in Indian tradition.

In Indian philosophy it is thought that by singing it is possible to talk directly with the gods.

All other instruments are ranked according to how close their sound or timbre resembles the sound of the voice The sitar Most well-known plucked string instrument.

It has seven principal metal strings of which two are used as drone notes

Below these are usually up to a dozen loose-fretted strings called 'sympathetic' -as they vibrate when the top strings are plucked. This gives the 'twangy' sound that makes the instrument instantly recognisable.

The main strings are played by plucking with a wire plectrum.

Two common playing techniques:
sliding between notes (called meend or mind) in intervals of quater tones or less
Playing rapid scale-like flourshes called tan. These virtuoso passages of improvisation feature in later sections of a typical raga performance. i.e the jhalla and gat. Indian instruments used in raga performance The sarangi This is smaller than the sitar and differs in that it is fretless and uses a bow rather than plucking the strings.

A bit like a violin, the instrument has a gentle tone and is ideally used to accompany singers. The sarod The sarod is also smaller than the sitar but like a sitar it has two sets of strings to create the distorted effect common to the sitar

It is fretless and has a metal fingerboard so that the player can slide up and down the strings to obtain different notes.

The instrument has a lower range and heavier tone than the sitar. Indian instruments used in raga performance A simple instrument with only four strings and a resonator.

It is used to provide the drone notes to accompany the singer or instrumentalist The tambura The tabla Small set of two drums of different sizes.

Small is made of wood and is called the tabla

The larger made of metal and is called baya

Both drums heads are skin and the black centre circle is made of a paste of iron filing s and flour.

The drums play the chosen rhythm cycle, known as the tala, as we as improvisatory rhythms Indian instruments used in raga performance The bansuri and shehnai Indian equivalent of the flute (bansuri) and the oboe (shehnai)

They do not have keys but a series of holes

players skillfully manage to produce a wide range of pitches by half covering the holes and varying the blowing.

Sliding effects, as on string instruments, are possible too. Rhythm - the tala In Western music, we divide time as if you were to bake a length of time and slice it the way you slice a loaf of bread.
In Indian music, you take small units, or "beats", and string them together to make up larger time values'.
(Philip Glass) As if the rhythm player's function was not already complicated enough, a contribution is also made to the melody.

The tabla, a double Indian drum almost has a melodic function, the pressure of the player's hand on the drum skin alters the pitch inflection, which combine with intricate variations of attack and volume.
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