Sonic Saturday

Explore the complex Gaud Saarang raag through performances by Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and more

This is the fourth episode of our series on the Saarang family of raags.

Apart from Vrindavani Saarang and Shuddha Saarang, another significant variety of Saarang called Gaud Saarang occupies an important position in concert repertoire. With a distinct zig-zag movement of notes, this raag demands the performer to be creative while maintaining integrity with the usually accepted melodic structure of the raag.

Importantly, the name Gaud Saarang is a bit of a misnomer, as the raag does not display any element of Saarang. It has phrases peculiar to Gaud and Kalyan, due to which eminent scholar-musician Ram Ashreya Jha (1928-2009) felt it was more appropriate to call the raag Gaud Kalyan and also perform it at night. However, the convention of calling the raag Gaud Saarang and performing it in the afternoon continues to this day.

In the fourth episode of our series on the Saarang family of raags, we feature renditions of Gaud Saarang. We begin with a recital by noted vocalist CR Vyas. He sings a vilambit or slow composition set to Tilwada, a cycle of 16 matras or time-units. He follows this with a composition in the 12-matra Ektaal. He is accompanied on the harmonium by Purushottam Walawalkar and on the tabla by Shashikant (Nana) Muley.


Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009) plays a detailed aalaap or introductory movement in Gaud Saarang.


World-renowned sitar exponent Ravi Shankar (1920-2012) plays a composition set to the 14-matra Ada Chautaal. He ends with a jhala section played at great speed.


Eminent bansuri player Pannalal Ghosh (1911-1960) plays a vilambit composition in khayal style set to Ektaal. The second composition is set to the 16-matra Teentaal.


Krishnarao Shankar Pandit (1893-1989), respected Gwalior gharana exponent, sings a slow-paced composition set to Ada Chautaal. He follows this with a tarana in Ektaal.


Agra gharana maestro Faiyaz Khan (1881-1950) sings a madhya laya or medium-tempo composition set to Teentaal.

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