Ram Narayan - Rag Bhairav

A set of revision cards on the main features of the Rag Bhairav for Edexcel music A2 setworks 2012 for Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding. 

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  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 13-06-12 17:58

Context/Background information

  • Hindustani Classical music from northern India. 
  • 'rag' or 'raga; is sanskrit meaning colour and involves moods associated with the pattern
  • This rag is preformed in the morning and portrays serenity and peacfulness
  • Performances take place with few performers
  • this piece is improvised but could last as long as it wants
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Performing Forces + Handling

  • Sarangi: bowed instrument playing melody, has 3 strings which performer play and 35 sympathetic strings. 
  • Ram Narayan is playing Sarangi
  • Tampura: long-necked, fretless, lute-like instruments with 4/5 strings. The strigns are tuneds to the main notes of rag and is plucked throughout performance. 
  • Tabla: hand drums one called dayan and one called bayan. They are played with heel of hand. The tablea uses improvisation in this piece but maintains rhythmic acompaniment to sarangi. 
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  • structure can be divided into rhythmic components like the tal and rag patterns
  • can be divided into two sections alap followed by jhala 
  • May be a jhor at line 14
  • alap- meants introduction and is slow and meditative, sarangi plays in free time with emphasis on important notes
  • jhala- entry of tabla signals start of jhala and sarangi improvises around rag in rhythmically structured way. 
  • Alap - gat is valid as alap - jhala
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Texture and Melody

  • opening consists of melody and drone
  • sarangi plays sometimes 2 note chords
  • texture changes line 19 with entru of tabla 
  • Hindustani music has 12 notes Rags have between 5-7 notes
  • This rag has 7 notes so is sampurna or 'complete'
  • rag has aroha (ascending) pattern and avaroha (descending pattern)
  • Shruti (microtones) 
  • Sa and Pa are the aschal swaras (fixed notes) like tonic and dominant
  • motif is a pakad
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  • melody is largely improvised
  • alap focuses on Sa and Dha line 3 Pa is highlighted
  • meend (sliding between notes)
  • tans (rapid scalic patterns)
  • ornamentation prevades jhala
  • lines 26 to 28 tan patterns climax
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Rhythm and Metre

  • alap has no metre
  • tabla performs tal which is a rhythmic cycle
  • tal divided into vibhags and each vibhag could have a different no. of beats
  • start of cycle called the sam
  • khali contrasts vibhag
  • Tal in Rag Bhairav is Tintal. 
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Tonality and Harmony

  • double stopping of sarangi creates harmony
  • drone of tampura with melody or used to create dissonance
  • tonality is never present emphasis on tones instead
  • tabla is tuned by play to ensure notes match Sa
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