Raga Darbari (continued)

Following on from the previous post, here are some of the Darbari gats that I learnt (often without “official” permission, as Darbari is meant to be learnt/taught at senior levels only.

The first one is a Vilambit gat – which is a variation of one played by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan:


Again, this is a raw recording with my Zoom H2 with Mr. Electronic tabla.

The notation is fairly easy: (starts from the 12th beat on Vilambit teentaal)

Dha Ni Sa Re Ga – –  Re-Re  Sa-Sa-Re Dha

Ni Pa — Ma-Ma Pa – Dha Dha Ni Sa – Ni ReRe Ga Re Sa

Now, a few points:

1. The trouble with Darbari is that every little microtone has to be perfect. The above rendition has a couple of points which could have been better (this was a one take recording) – as always, all errors and omissions are mine. If I ever find the time to re-record (unlikely), then I’ll fix these.

2. I’ve modified the gat somewhat – both the mukhda and the antara. Instead of a linear motion up and down the scale, I’ve tried to bring in a bit more gamak than in the original. One movement towards the end was inspired by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s rendition in the Emperor

3. I recorded this sitting in a large empty room (my wife’s dance studio), so as to get a bit of a space effect – most sarod Darbaris seem to have a bit of reverb in them (natural or artificial)

Playing Darbari requires patience and calibration. By calibration I mean that you must be “coloured” and “soaked” in Darbari. Before recording this, I spent the whole week playing Kafi, so found it hard to “calibrate” myself. Anyway, I’d rather publish than talk about the raag.

There are several other finer points to be mindful of. One is the play on the Kharaj string:

Ma- Pa Ma Pa – Ni Pa Ga  – the gamak between Ma Pa and back to Ga is extremely delicate and requires great skill to execute.

Overall, the vilambit should be slow and reposeful – something I’ve tried to maintain.

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