raga


In this blog entry, I write about something that is somewhat well known in carnatic music circles – although one would claim with various levels of knowledge and some confusion. It is about a raga called AbhEri (ābhēri), in particular with respect to the famous song nagumOmu ganalEni (nagumōmu ganalēni) by Thyagaraja.

Warning: This is long and technical, but I do try to spice it up with audio, and audio-visuals. At the least, you get to heard some wondeful music, and also a very rare recording.

Here is what you may get out of it:

  • If you believed that AbhEri as you hear today is just like any other run of the mill raga, or that nagumOmu ganalEni as you hear today is a fantastic tune that pretty much is how tyAgarAja must have composed, then you would change your view after this.
  • If you believed that AbhEri as you heard today is the “real” AbhEri, you would change your view.
  • If you believe that the raga of vINAbhEri (vīṇābhēri) by Diksitar is the raga in which nagumOmu was originally composed in, well you may change your view on that as well.
  • If you hear someone say “AbhEri with D1″ or “I love AbhEri, I mean the original one, the one with D1″ – then after reading this, you may ask “That is ambiguos. Which AbhEri do you exactly mean?”

Interested? Read on …

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I am back. Can’t explain the reason for the hiatus – except of course the old demon laziness. In the big gap since the last post, I went to Chennai, enjoyed the music season, and company of family; came back to a nasty US Midwest winter; a continuing tumultuous economy; an opportunity to learn several wonderful songs.

But I am not going to blog on all that. Instead, I am going to subject the readers (whoever that still remain) to the outcome of yet another mad experiment. This one was sort of painful to carry out.  I could  see that it does not take long to reach the  limits of my “creative” talents  🙂

As before, try to guess the raga that served as the inspiration for the melody of this song.  The first one who gets it right gets a huge cheer from me, because that means that I didn’t mangle it to oblivion! But be forewarned, that this can be viewed a very derivative work of the melodic contour of the raga. Some serious CM enthusiasts may gasp at the blasphemy here – just for the choice of the raga 😉 !

If anyone is interested in the chords used, please let me know. You can play detective work on the title too, but if you can, please do so after you listen to it first please!

PS: Sorry for a lamo post after a while. I promise to post something more substantive in the carnatic arena in a little bit

You asked for it. Maybe you didn’t – but you are getting it anyway. This mad scientist, spurred by some positive feedback received for his Mad Lion, went back into his Garage, worked with his band (i.e. himself), got “loop”y, and came up with another experiment.

He has called it by the weird, and contrived name – Ethereal Gypsy on Route Fifty Eight although he has his reasons.

For you Carnatic folks, perhaps you can still out make out the raga/scale on which this tune (i.e. the solo) is adapted from? The carnaticity of the raga obviously has been mangled out of shape – but the tune does still stick to its scale (hopefully 🙂 ).

The chord progression here is not really a chord progression :)! I started out with exactly two chords (Bm and Bm6), and I sort of got sucked into the mood generated by those two (which gave me some ideas for the background music). And I could never escape out of that. There are a few other chords which would have fit this scale, but those two chords had grabbed me a hold of me like two tentacles, and I guess I was enjoying their grasp too much to see anything else. The solo also is more of the western style, or at least well disconnected from the Carnatic side of things.  I just went with the flow of what I thought fit rather than trying to consciously bring the Carnatic flavor of the raga out (although that was my original intention).

BTW, there are three reasons for the choice of that contrived title. Can you guess all three ? You may need some music knowledge (carnatic and other) and google to figure it out. First one who gets all three – gets to brag about it in the comment section 😉

Please listen to this sample (turn up your volume : ) ! ):

What do you think of this piece? What kind of music do you think this fits under? What kind of mood does the piece project? If you chose to comment (and I hope you do), please try to include your first impressions..

Now, if you want to know more about this piece, please read on:

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