Relative Aeolian Ragas

Want to add some exotic spices to your improvising? Bored with the same old minor pentatonic flavors? Add these to your musical palate!

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First things first, the basic type of raga that this article will teach you to use in the minor tonality is that with five tones (so I guess that in that sense, you could call them "penta-tonic") But as you will discover, they sound very different from western pentatonics due to the intervals that they involve. They are a Root, Minor 2nd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, and Minor 6th. The following is a multi-transposed legato lick that uses all five members of the Raga, that helps me keep track of what ragas are relative (Diatonic) to whatever minor tonality I might be playing in. Note: These are all the same lick but transposed to fit into any minor key, each of these begins on "do" or what you would call the "tonal center" of the Raga. Also Note: The pattern that can be seen quite easily in each of these is that the relative Raga to any minor key is the Raga built on the 5th of that minor key. (Technically speaking, you are therefore "playing in key", but you have crossed over tonal centers) I like to play these as 16th note triplets w/Alt picking but thats just me, these are merely meant to provide the reader with musical sounding exercises where-in all 5 tones of each Raga are being used.
           A Minor                       E Minor      
e|------5h7p5-8p5-7h8p7p5|---------12h14p12-15p12-14h15p14p12-|
B|-5h6p5-----------------|-12h13p12---------------------------|
G|-----------------------|------------------------------------|
D|-----------------------|------------------------------------|
A|-----------------------|------------------------------------|
E|-----------------------|------------------------------------|
 
          B Minor                        F# Minor
e|------7h9p7-10p7-9h10p9p7-|---------14h16p14-17p14-16h17p16p14-|
B|-7h8p7--------------------|-14h15p14---------------------------|
G|--------------------------|------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------|------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------|------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------|------------------------------------|
 
        C# Minor                         G# minor
e|--------9h11p9-12p9-11h12p11p9-|------4h6p4-7p4-6h7p6p4-|
B|-9h10p9------------------------|-4h5p4------------------|
G|-------------------------------|------------------------|
D|-------------------------------|------------------------|
A|-------------------------------|------------------------|
E|-------------------------------|------------------------|
 
             D# Minor                          A# Minor
e|---------11h13p11-14p11-13h14p13p11-|------6h8p6-9p6-8h9p8p6-|
B|-11h12p11---------------------------|-6h7p6------------------|
G|------------------------------------|------------------------|
D|------------------------------------|------------------------|
A|------------------------------------|------------------------|
E|------------------------------------|------------------------|
 
             D Minor                          G Minor
e|---------10h12p10-13p10-12h13p12p10-|------3h5p3-6p3-5h6p5p3-|
B|-10h11p10---------------------------|-3h4p3------------------|
G|------------------------------------|------------------------|
D|------------------------------------|------------------------|
A|------------------------------------|------------------------|
E|------------------------------------|------------------------|
 
           C Minor                         F Minor
e|------8h10p8-11p8-10h11p10p8-|---------13h15p13-16p13-15h16p15p13-|
B|-8h9p8-----------------------|-13h14p13---------------------------|
G|-----------------------------|------------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------|------------------------------------|
A|-----------------------------|------------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------|------------------------------------|
         Bb Minor                            Eb Minor 
e|------6h8p6-9p6-8h9p8p6-|---------11h13p11-14p11-13h14p13p11-|
B|-6h7p6------------------|-11h12p12---------------------------|
G|------------------------|------------------------------------|
D|------------------------|------------------------------------|
A|------------------------|------------------------------------|
E|------------------------|------------------------------------|
 
      Ab Minor
e|------4h6p4-7p4-6h7p6p4-|
B|-4h5p4------------------|
G|------------------------|
D|------------------------|
A|------------------------|
E|------------------------|
-Nicholas Jacquet

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    DiabolusMusica5
    No, Minor Pentatonics Contain a root, a minor 3rd, a perfect 4th, a perfect 5th, and a minor seventh. The intervals in these five tone scales are a root, a minor 2nd, a perfect 4th, a perfect 5th, and a minor sixth. Different Intervals=Different scales. Dude frigin pick up ur guitar a see how these sound, they sound nothing lick ur standard pentatonic scale./
    Colohue
    Right, so the third and the seventh, typically recognised as the intervals that show the difference between major and minor, are missing? How is it minor at all then? Also, it's not Aeolian. It's not modal.
    DiabolusMusica5
    Oh Lord...dude...firstly, 1.) Ragas come from a musical system that is not based on the major scale. 2.) The purpose of this article was to show how Ragas can be used in the context of a minor key. 3.) What u say about 3rds/7ths is true when you are dealing with multiple voice textures involving chords...good luck luck creating meaningful counterpoint using any 5 tone scale, This scale can pony up exactly as many complete tertiary triads as the minor and major western pentatonic scales...only a chord built on its second scale degree...It is the intervals themselves that are diatonic to the scale that determine tontality, This scale is not a power chord, granted it has two perfect intervals but it has a minor 2/6
    DiabolusMusica5
    For the record my friend, I will surrender this discussion, bow down, and call u master if u can point for me even one instance in western music where a scale in the MAJOR tonality naturally uses a m2. (*I say naturally b/c they might have them added say like for a Neapolitan but they are NOT there naturally)
    slowlybilly
    I like chromatics! You just do whatever you want, and create your own chords from the scale....a lot of passing tones, then you harmonize with the rythm in your favorite intervals.....That's my style...then blues using western pentatonics mixed with my own home-made scales....don't use the modes much....just my favorite ones, and only my favorite notes from them.