New Sarod !

I just returned from India as the proud owner of a new sarod….

Sounds great so far….

Here’s me practicing my eternally favourite raga Darbari Kanada on my new sarod…., playing both a slow alaap as well as a fast paced composition in 16 beats to check out the sound….

Some moments from a recent concert

WIth Preston Symphony Orchestra
WIth Preston Symphony Orchestra

On 30th March 2014  I performed with the Preston Symphony Orchestra – a concerto for sarod and tabla – by Nicolas Buff, with Girish Makwana. This was a first in Australia- to have a full symphony orchestra with the sarod/tabla.

A gentleman from Taiwan who writes a blog took some photos of the rehearsals

Rehearsals at Preston City Hall with Preston Symphony Orchestra
Rehearsals at Preston City Hall with Preston Symphony Orchestra

sarod_preston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m trying to get a finished copy of the concert video and will upload at some stage

 

Raga Bihag: An uplifting melody

bihag

A most pleasing and enjoyable raga, Bihag is at once a very popular and common raga. On the sarod, practically everyone has played this at some time or the other. Associated ragas include: Maru Bihag, Nat Bihag, Hem Bihag and Pat Bihag (I heard the last one once, and have no idea of the repertoire…. will find out if I get the time)….

Bihag, also spelt Behag etc… is a straightforward raga

Aarohan: N(lower) S G M P N S(upper)

Avrohan: S (upper) N P, G M G

Bihag employs both the Major (Shudda) M and Teevra (Sharp) M…

The phrase GMG is a signature of Bihag …..

It evokes feelings of happiness, joy and celebration. According to some musicians (notably Ud Vilayat Khan), this is a raga for weddings.

Here’s a quick compostion in Vilambit Teentaal

Followed by a few compositions in Drut Teentaal (16 beats)

I really should move these to their own page-…

Bihag Jhaptaal composition is still in the works…

 

Raga Jhinjhoti- Continued

Here is the first video of Raga Jhinjhoti – a fast (drut) composition in 16 beat (teentaal) followed by a variant of the same composition set to the same taal.

This composition is from the Shahjahanpur Sarod Gharana, and was developed by Abdullah Khan or Mohammad Amir Khan…

Originally meant for the sarod, this has been adapted on other instruments. The composition has several rhythmic accents, which take time to learn.

The notations are :

RR MM GG, DD nn P D S R  G (Sam)

-R M PD Sn R S nn D PD, M P DD MM g RG,

SS RR g SS n D nn

P D  S R G, S R M G (RR MM GG etc)

The antara is very complex and I’ve found that a lot of musicians leave it out.

G S R M P D n P D M, P D S R GGR R S

D S R M G, D S RS N D PD, M P D MM G RG

SS RG SS n D nn P D S R G, S R MG (RR MM etc)

The key points of this composition is to stick to the rhythm. As the composition veers off  the main beat, the rhythm has to be tightly controlled. Fortunately, the composition does not veer off randomly, it still maintains the flow of the taal, so can be learnt after some practice.

Here’s a Youtube video of me playing this composition, recorded at a practice session in my room…

Raga Bageshri- Conclusion

Here is my last post on Raga Bageshri – a gat in Rupak Taal (7 beats) to round off the full series: Vilambit, Madhyalaya and Drut…

I learnt this composition from Ustad Shahid Parvez – he also showed a different style of taankari- using phrases. As always, I’ve ended up experimenting with tihais etc – more of a concert thing…

The notation is fairly simple – starts from 1. (Sam)

Sthayi

g R S  D(lower) n(lower) S

Antara

g- M- Dn D

M- P gg R- (back to Sthayi)

The taans are played in a style which is not commonly heard either on the sarod or sitar, so very much enjoying this -it’s got a bit of rhythmwork (layakari) in it. There are some concert grade “dazzlers” in there such as the one taan where the end of the tihai is played thrice – once with space, the second at regular speed and the third without a space. All that is good for concerts, and musicians must keep their arsenal equipped for performance purposes. Even if you are not playing these in concert, it focusses you on taal practice and control of your laya.

 

 

Bageshri- Drut Teentaal – Some compositions

I’ve been a bit late with my posts – but here the latest one covering off more material in Bageshri –  this time some select compositions in Drut Teentaal…(Bageshri is such a “big” raga, one could spend years on it..)

I’ve recorded a video showing 7 compositions in Drut Teentaal, some never played on the sarod (e.g. sitar heritage) but all unique in some ways:

First up, without the tabla – is the vocal composition “Balma More Tore Sang”.. sung by many (even fusion bands)
Then the lineup begins with an intricate composition that I learnt from Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan. What is different about this composition is the rhythmic phrasings and long taans, not commonly heard on the sarod.
I then play an old composition from Ustad Amjad Ali Khan from the 60s. I’ve modified the antara by truncating it the first phrase only – which works better for me

Then some traditional compositions in sarod from the Shahjahanpur Gharana, learnt via Shri Sugato Nag

Then two masterpieces by the greatest musicians of the last century: Ustads Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Amir Khan Sahab.
In particular, as I went back to Ud Amir Khan Sahab’s original rendition of the Bageshri, it really had a profound effect on me in terms of his notes and tone. He managed to say so much in a few notes… we mere mortals can never hope to accomplish that. I now know what Pt Nikhil Banerjee felt when he first heard the legendary Ustad… please read the article here….
Then a self composition that I’m working on.

Next, Bageshri in Rupak… to round out the collection…

Bageshri – Drut Ektaal – Notes from a practice session

In this post, I have published a video showing a recording of a practice session featuring a Drut Ektaal composition in Bageshri – which I believe has never been played before on the sarod (so I get to be first ???).Anyway, frivolities aside, I’m not quite sure why this masterpiece of vocal music  (called Apni Garaj Pakar Leeni Baiyan Mori) hasn’t been played more on the sarod. It suits the vocal style perfectly. The video is designed to show the fingering approach to this piece.

The link is here:

After the main part, I focus on taan and tihai development, with multiple iterations and permutations designed to terminate on the Sam. This bit is sometimes the hard slog of “tayyari” or readiness for a performance. You need to have the framework of the piece ready in your mind and improvise within that framework. Most of the taans are linear vocal type, but I do fit in some rhythmic style ones as well, designed to vary the tone of the taan.
Due to the vast expanse of the raga, I simply manage to cover taans just ending in the first line (mukhda) – imagine the possibilities… you could spend months on this piece alone….

Next, I’ll post a few drut teentaal bandishes on the sarod in Bageshri – most of them never played before on this instrument.