Area of Study 4 - Rag Desh

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Rag Desh


A Rag Desh is an Indian Scale, several notes that can be improvised around. There are three pieces, one by Anoushka Shankar, one called Mhara janam maran, and one by Steve and Benji. All of the pieces have one thing in common, the raga they use (Rag Desh). The notes of this scale are C-D-F-G-B-C-Bb-A-G-F-E-D-C.


Anoushka Shankar's piece starts with an alap, a beat less flowing piece of music, in free time, the sitar plays it in this case, improvising on the Raga. This then, with the help of tihais (threefold repetitions of a short passage, to signal to the tabla player that he is about to come in), changes to the Gat. In this, the tala, effectively a time signature becomes known. It is jhaptal, which means 2+3+2+3 beats. The tabla continues this, until the first gat finishes, and the second, the drut gat, comes in. This is introduced with a decrease in note lengths from the sitar, and so it increases the momentum in the piece. She also uses chands, or triplets. At the start of


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