Various Artists

Raga Guide: A Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas

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In music-speak, ragas are essentially scalar melody forms -- something like scales or melodic modes in Western music. However, North Indian ragas do differ from Western modes and scales in several important ways: ragas often take on different ascending and descending forms, act as melodic armatures for vocal and/or instrumental improvisation, are frequently believed to have divine origins and characteristics, and are commonly associated with a certain season or time of the day. The Raga Guide acts an impressive introduction to the sophisticated sonic world of Hindustani ragas. In conjunction with its 184-page booklet, The Raga Guide offers narrative descriptions, musical notation, and -- most importantly -- audio examples of 74 distinct ragas. The CD's tracks are presented by four illustrious soloists: flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia, sarod player Buddhadev Das Gupta, and vocalists Vidyadhar Vyas and Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar. In short, The Raga Guide is an excellent resource for both dabblers and devotees of Hindustani music.

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