Here’s a composition inspired by Carnatic raga Gamanashrama from my upcoming All India Permit EP out 11/4 on Pursuance Records. Raga Gamanashrama is a lydian scale with a flat 9, with scale degrees 1 – b2 – 3 – #4 – 5 – 6 – 7. The piece features my approach to harmonizing the notes of this raga, while developing rhythmic tension which eventually resolves towards the end of the composition. Audio and notated lead sheet for the piece are below. Feel free to download a copy of the chart at the bottom of the page.
This video is a follow up to a previous lesson on Misra Chapu. This exercise uses the same subdivisions but introduces them in a different order. The rearrangement of the subdivisions is a simple concept but in practice posses challenges. This idea is applied in numerous konnakol phrases and quickly gets one to reexamine ways that any collection of rhythmic phrases can be permuted.
Below is a clip from the 2013-14 USIEF Conference in Chennai. Manasa Suresh, a fellow Fulbrighter and up and coming Carnatic vocalist from northern California, is singing an alap, or melodic introduction, on Raga Saraswati. An alap introduces a raga, typically outlining the raga in distinct portions: tonic to 5th, 5th to upper tonic, upper register, return down to tonic, below the tonic, then conclusion.
Raga Saraswati contains the 1 – 2 – #4 – 5 – 6 – 8 on the ascent and 8 – b7 – 6 – 5 – #4 – 2 – 1 on the descent. While Manasa sings her outline of the raga, my role is to support her, by mimicking as closely as possible her vocal lines. This is very characteristic of a Carnatic Alap, where the vocalist sings and the instrumentalist follows the vocal line, almost like a delay. It is quite challenging, but an incredible musical experience. Please enjoy!