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Old 03-28-2016, 06:38 PM   #1
RonaldPoe
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Indian Raga for guitar tips (I think)

Hi, it's me again. I know I'm not an expert in this subject but here's some of the basics of Indian Raga improv (I've researched the subject quite a bit). This is an attempt at a guide to applying Raga basics to guitar. These may not be the most accurate but that's because I'm not of Indian decent nor have I studied under a guru (or stuff like that).

A strange thing that sets Indian Raga apart from other types of Improvisation is that the root/1st isn't always the center of attention. The most important notes are actually the Vadi (most important note) and Samavadi (second most important note). These deserve more emphasis than the other notes.

Where Jazz and stuff use a chord progression to establish harmony, Indian Raga prefers/uses the drone (which a note or notes that ring and repeat throughout). It's not uncommon to find yourself playing over a single note or two and a drum beat (usually based on a tal or rhythmic pattern) for the entire piece. One of the drones notes is usually Pa (the root) and another selected note.

You will want to get good at slides (to produce overtones and get between notes) and vibrato (it helps add the microtones). Slides should be jerky in a deliberate way and vibrato should be smooth and somewhat slow. Learning to improve articulations and stuff is a key to learning to play Raga and other music (to an extent).

Intervals in Indian Raga (for the most part) go Sa (1st/root) Re (second) Ga (third) Ma (4th) Pa (5th) Dha (6th) Ni (7th) and back to Sa. Packads are little melodic patterns that help reinforce the Raga (kinda like a lick in western improvisation). Arohana is the acsending pattern of the raga and avarohana is the descending pattern.

Kaylan and Yaman are both Indian equivalents of Lydian. The rest of this paragraph will however focus on Kaylan. The arohana is Ni Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. Kaylan's Avarohana is Sa Ni Dha Pa Ga Re Ni Re Sa. The vadi is Ga and the samavadi is Ni. The Drone would be based on Sa - Pa. Ni Re Ga M'a" is a telltale sign/Packad for Yaman. It's known for being a evening raga.

Asavari is an Indian Raga equivalent of the Aeolian/Minor scale. The arohana is Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Sa and the Avarohana is Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa. The vadi is Dha and the Samavadi is Ga. The Drone would be based on Sa - Pa. One common pakad would be Re Ma Pa Ni Dha Pa and another would be Ma Pa Dha Ma Pa Ga Re Sa. It's known for being a morning raga.

I remember when I was mildly obsessed with Steve Vai's Xavian Scale. I've found the Xavian lick resembles A Lydian or was it B Mixolydian (I know it would be in the E Major family). Try using A Lydian as a basis for Kaylan. This is all I got and is possibly crap (and way too simplified). Oh well, have a nice day.

Also how would I apply Raga to bass guitar?
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Last edited by RonaldPoe : 03-28-2016 at 06:39 PM.
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