RaagTime Episode 2 – Instruments of India

Musical instruments of India can be broadly classified under three headings – stringed, wind and percussion. The sarod is a stringed instrument like the lute and is believed to have originated in Afghanistan. The word sarod means melody in Persian. Amjad Ali Khan is one of the most famous sarod players of India. In this episode he plays the poignant notes of raag Bagesri.

The saxophone is a woodwind instrument invented by a Belgian Adolphe Sax. It is heard in bands, jazz concerts and classical music. How did it end up on the classical music scene in India? The credit goes to musician Kadri Gopalnath who has created a niche for this instrument in Carnatic music. In this episode he plays Raghuvamsha Sudha, a composition of Tyagaraja in the raga Kathanakuthuhalam

The flute is an ancient woodwind instrument. Archeology reveals that the flute has been around more than 35000 years. Since 1500 BC, the flute known as bansuri has been heard in Indian music. The Hindu God Krishna is referred to as the one playing the flute. In this episode Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia creates a meditative mood by playing the notes of raag Shivanjali.

It is a remarkable testimony to human creativity when a western stringed instrument is suitably adapted to Indian classical music. The violin is a key component in a Carnatic music concert as it is believed to be the best melodic support to a vocalist. Carnatic violinists also give solo concerts on stage accompanied by percussion players such as mridangists. The English Notes, a quirky composition of the 20th century composer Muthiah Bhagavathar  became an instant hit with the classical crowd when it was presented on stage. In this episode the Mysore Brothers present the English Notes in their own inimitable style.

Click here for RaagTime Episode 2

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