Sonic Saturday

Listen: Three rare vocal compositions in the raag Madhmaad Saarang

This raag from the Saarang family is prescribed for afternoon performances.

Two of the raags prescribed for performance during the monsoon are Megh and Megh Malhar. Some scholars do not differentiate between the two, while others believe that both have separate features. However, I mentioned the two not because today’s episode deals with them. Instead, it is in the context of a variety of Saarang called Madhmaad Saarang that I chose to mention the two seasonal raags, as they bear some resemblance to Madhmaad Saarang. The latter is yet another raag from the Saarang family that is prescribed for performance in the afternoon.

Without getting into the technicalities of the melodic structure of each of the raags as detailed by scholars, one can make a note of some of the essential differences between the two seasonal raags and Madhmaad Saarang. For one, unlike the former, Madhmaad Saarang does not use oscillations on Rishabh, the second swar or note, and on Nishaad, the seventh swar. It also does not use glides from Rishabh to Pancham, the fifth, or from Nishaad to Pancham. The movement of phrases in Madhmaad Saarang is also quicker.

We begin with a track that features path-breaking vocalist Kumar Gandharva singing a composition in Madhmaad Saarang set to Teentaal, a cycle of 16 matras or time-units.

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Mewati gharana exponent and well-known vocalist Jasraj presents a composition in a medium-paced 16-matra Sitarkhani taal, which later changes to Teentaal.

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Unfortunately, there are very few interpretations of Madhmaad Saarang that are readily available on the net. We end with Mallikarjun Mansur, the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana maestro, who sings a composition in the 10-matra Jhaptaal.

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