In its previous episode, this column carried a brief discussion on Madhmaad Saarang, a raag prescribed for the afternoon and a variety from the Saarang family of raags. As mentioned then, it bears some resemblance to Megh and Megh Malhar, due to the similarity in the notes that are used in all three raags. But the treatment of these notes is completely different, and hence, lends specific character to Madhmaad Saarang.
Today, we feature another Saarang variety called Saamant Saarang. This raag is rarely heard in concerts. It is quite like Vrindavani Saarang except for its use of the Shuddha Dhaivat or the sixth in a zig-zag manner in the descent from the upper tonic. It is not used in the ascent to the upper tonic, so it is introduced in phrases that start from Rishabh, or the second, or directly from the tonic of the middle octave, but only to descend to Pancham, the fifth or even lower, or via the komal Nishaad or flat seventh. The additional note gives it a special flavour and is not an indication of an element from another raag, though it may create such an illusion.
The first track features Faiyaz Khan, the Agra gharana maestro, singing an extended aalaap or introductory movement in Saamant Saarang.
Anant Manohar Joshi, respected exponent of the Gwalior gharana, sings a khayal composition in vilambit or slow Tilwada, a cycle of 16 matras or time-units. The drut or fast composition is set to the 12-matra Ektaal. He is accompanied by Chandrakant Kamat on tabla and Madhukar Khadilkar on the sarangi.
The next track is also a khayal presentation in the same raag by eminent vocalist Yeshwantbuwa Joshi, who was trained in the Gwalior and Agra traditions. The first composition is set to vilambit Ektaal. It is followed by a drut composition in the 16-matra Teentaal.
We end this episode with a track featuring renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar. He plays a short aalaap in Saamant Saarang followed by a gat or instrumental composition set to the 10-matra Jhaptaal. He is accompanied by the Punjab gharana maestro Alla Rakha.