How many types of raag are there

Stephanie BoschFlutistbansuri traversflute recorder start bansuri travers and recorders contact sitemapbansuri
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WDR 3 music passages, excerpts from August 28, 2007 and October 26, 2007 WDR 3 music passages, excerpts from October 8, 2007

bansuri -bamboo flute

The North Indian term for this flute is Bansuri. The flute has a lot in common with the human voice, both have a pitch range of two and a half octaves.

The most important thing they have in common is breath, the means of sound production and quality of expression. Despite its simplicity, all of the fine glissandi, dynamic contrasts, embellishments and tonal variations that are found in Indian can be found on the bamboo flute
Music are essential to be realized.
The bansuri occupies a central position in Indian culture. It is associated with the flute-playing Lord Krishna, the
mythological reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Here we could see parallels to the European legend of Orpheus.

the music

The basis of Indian music is the melodic raga system, played on a flute or another melody instrument, the rhythmic system of the tala, played on the tabla, a pair of drums played with the hands and the drums, which form the basis, played on the tanpura, a plucked string instrument, which continuously forms a kind of sound carpet in the background.
A Raga has a unique melodic structure with possibilities for variation and improvisation. The word raga comes from Sanskrit and means “color”.
Raga is a musical form of expression that is said to have the power to change the inner mood of its listeners.
Each raga has its own individual personality.
The first part of the raga is in free meter. It is a kind of introduction in which the raga is gradually introduced and unfolds its beauty and subtlety. In this very melodic part, the closeness to vocal music (through its delicate ornaments and glissandi) becomes clear. After the exposure of the raga, the tabla (a pair of drums played with the hands) is added and from now on raga and tala are connected to one another. The term tala describes a rhythm cycle with a certain number of beats that are put together in groups. The compositions are in different rhythm cycles of 7, 9, 10, 12 or 16 beats, in medium or fast tempo. The tempos are continuously increased within a raga.


In Sanskrit, "Ranjayathi iti Ragah" translates as "that which colors the mind". The music that colors the mind of the listener is caused on the one hand by the tones and decorations, on the other hand by a certain feeling that the music expresses. Every human emotion, every subtle feeling in man and nature can be expressed and experienced musically. Romance & eroticism, humor, pathos, anger, heroism, fear, disgust, amazement and peace as well as calm, devotion and enthusiasm are the main emotions.
In Indian music there is a close connection between man and nature. Depending on the creativity and nature of the artist, it is possible for a great artist to transfer the respective mood to the listener and thus to communicate with the listener and to form a unit. The music can have an emotionally overwhelming effect on the mood of the audience and the artist.
The mood of the artist, their character and the temperament or mood of the listener can also influence the effect.
These “primordial” feelings are generally valid - regardless of nationality and skin color, regardless of religious affiliation. The language of music is detached from external constraints and connects people with the origin of their being.

Times of day in the Indian raga

Traditionally, certain ragas are assigned specific times of the day or seasons, this is called samay. One of the unique characteristics of Indian classical music is the assignment of certain times of the day and night to raga melodies. It is believed that only during this period of time the raga can unfold its full beauty and majestic splendor. There are ragas that can only develop their full bloom in the early hours of the morning; others that are only played in the evening, while still others only get their full splendor around midnight. It is said that only appropriate performance can produce harmony, while playing at the wrong time is supposed to produce disharmony. There are musicians who are convinced that a raga must be played at the time prescribed for the raga; still other musicians argue that any raga can be played at any time if the mood of the raga is to be evoked.
This connection of times of day with the raga is based on the daily changes that our body and mind go through and which are subject to constant fine changes and which trigger a wide variety of emotions and moods at different times of the day. The stronger the connection between the tones of the raga and the expression of an idea or emotion, the more overwhelming the effect of the raga.
Early musicologists were particularly interested in studying the effect of tones, to what extent the tones have an effect on human behavior. Music had the power to heal, make you happy, sad, peaceful, etc. Extensive research was done to investigate these effects. This formed the basis of the theories about the connection between time and raga known today.
In Indian music, every period of the day is assigned a certain mood, strength or energy to the person and his daily rhythm. Here there are parallels in the human body as well as in nature. The ragas are composed accordingly so that artists and listeners can feel the mood. This awareness and the close relationship between man and nature is an essential aspect of Indian music, and, depending on the artist's imagination and creativity; a great artist can communicate with the audience and create the mood of the raga in them. The 9 main emotions are: Shringara (romantic, erotic), Hasya (humorous), Karuna (pathetic), Raudra (angry), Veera (heroic), Bhayanaka (fearful), Vibhatsa (indignant), Adbhuta (amazed), Shanta (peaceful ). Each raga is mainly dominated by one of these 9 rasas (feelings), although the artist can also show other, more subtle, but less salient emotions.
Another important aspect is the character, nature and mood of the artist himself on the one hand and that of the listener on the other. The artist has the freedom to create and create all kinds of moods and atmospheres within a raga.

© Stephanie Bosch

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