Experimenting with Raag Mayamalavagowla

By Lars Rosager | Music

Nov 14

PictureAs it is written in the August 1, 1896 Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Raag Mayamalavagowla “is the most favored mode, the first taught” (520) in South Indian Classical Music. A.M. Chinnaswami Mudaliyar, M.A. notes that Indians in general are very fond of the melodic formulas contained in this raag (see Oriental Music in European Notation).

In this post, I propose the viability of studying some harmonic components of Indian classical music. Among many possibilities is the rhythmic emphasis of intervals against the drone. One needs to look at the affective character of each raag vis-à-vis the limitations to which the melody is subjected. Also, Pa-high Sa-low Sa, Ma-high Sa-low Sa, and Ni-high Sa-low Sa drones should be examined. Additionally, I have heard Buddhist chant in Sri Lankan that makes use of parallel perfect fifths. The matter of harmony in Indian music is certainly deserving of investigation. I invite any comments!

Below, find two brief compositions in Raag Mayamalavagowla. The following recording is unique in that the drone changes, in this case from Sa=E to Sa=A. Altering the drone would be a less traditional, yet, in my opinion, viable way to utilize harmony in what has long been called a purely melodic school. The addition of lyrics, which I plan to work out eventually, will add to the shift of affective state achieved by changing the drone.

File Size: 2653 kb
File Type: mp3

Download File

Lars Rosager plays Casa Montalvo Guitars and Thomastik-Infeld Strings.