20 January 2010

You think the Phrygian mode is useless? (Some wag has called it the Friggin' mode, in Western music anyways, with its pathological B-avoidance. See The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.) Well listen up.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:30am

1. Raga Bilashkani Todi (rec. 1991)
Rais Khan - sitar, Sultan Khan - sarangi, Sabir Khan - tabla
Together: Rais Khan & Sabir Khan: Sitar & Sarangi
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1032-2
(A jugalbandhi, or duet, described as "one idea speaking through two pairs of hands". Apparently, this is hard to pull off. Basic scale of this morning raga is the Phrygian mode (C Db Eb F G Ab Bb), with 6th and 3rd scale steps the most important pitches. The "mood [is] of delighted adoration in a gentle, loving sentiment".)

2. Raga Bhairavi (rec. 1988)
K. Sridhar - sarod, K. Shivakumar - violin, G. S. Sabri - tabla, Camilla Hale - tanpura
Carol, 2306-2
(Another jugalbandhi. Basic scale of Bhairavi is our old friend, the Phrygian mode, with the flexibility of adding foreign, non-scale passing tones. 4th and 1st scale steps are the most important pitches, but there seems to be some disagreement about this. "Wide range of emotional expression... most suited to expressing the poignancy of separation".)

Set #2 - 9:30am - 11:00am

3. Talavadya Kacceri (rec. 1990)
Trichy Sankaran - konnakkol [voice], mrdangam [double-sided drum] & kanjira [tambourine], Andrew Timar - finger cymbals
Laya Vinyas: The South Indian Drumming of Trichy Sankaran
Music of the World, MOW120

4. Raga Miyan ki Todi (rec. 1994)
Kamalesh Maitra - tabla tarang, Trilok Gurtu - tabla, Laura Patchen - tanpura
Tabla Tarang: Melody on Drums
Smithsonian Folkways, CD SF 40436
(Dig the basic scale of the morning raga Todi: C Db Eb F# G Ab B with flatter than usual Ab, Eb and Db. What do you make of that, two islands of chromatics separated by a big-ish minor third? Again, 6th and 3rd scale steps are the most important, echoing the earlier Bilashkani Todi. Coincidence? Note this extraordinary instrument: the tabla tarang, a set of up to 16 drums arranged in a semi-circle around the performer and tuned to the scale of the raga. If engineering can be beautiful, this recording is beautifully engineered.)

5. Raga Bhairavi (rec. 2008)
Amit Chatterjee - sitar
Fragile Moments
Rageshree Music Institute, CD RMI 114

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