Thursday, August 10, 2006

Desh - Sorath - Tilak Kamod

Desh - Sorath - Tilak Kamod

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In a previous post, I mused that Malhar seems to bring out the monsoon
so swiftly. No wonder that Raaga was named such; no otherwould
have done justice
to the rains.

The naming of Raagas must have been done by some very gifted and
individuals. Take a look at Raaga Desh. Does the fact that the
translates to 'country' or 'land' give the scale a patriotic tinge or
is it the other way around - that such a scale could only have been
named Desh?

Some thought leads me to believe that the extended Shuddha Nishadh
gives this
Raaga a distinctive Patriotic flavour.

Here is an introduction to Desh - Shubra Guha.

The term 'pakad' (which Shubra speaks of briefly) refers to a
signature that every Raaga possesses. The awesome
Paluskar has a fantastic
set of small pieces which present the
essence of each Raaga within a few
seconds of beginning.

Here are more examples, each showing the power of music to
invoke (sometimes
irrational) emotions in us. The Nine Rasas
(or emotions /feelings) are captured
exquisitely in our music,
though of course, we would want to avoid music that
fear and loathing in us (though it is possible; please visit me in

Bangalore and I shall play the violin for you. Fear will strike your
heart, he he).

Desh is not to be confused with Deshkar, which is a pentatonic
Raaga similar
to Bhupali but with a devotional tinge. It should
also not be confused
with Desi. Another fantastic example of
Desi is of
Nikhil Banerjee.

The span of Desh works well across all octaves, unlike Malhar
or Darbari which
sound more effective in the lower octaves.

Desh and Malhar blend beautifully to give us Desh Malhar; the
can be skipped. I was not able to find a sample.

Moving along, we find Sorath, a more delicate and timeless
version of Desh.
Sorath is employed in Sikh Shabads to excellent
effect. Desh is more
popular because it gives a more room to
manoeuver. I am not in complete
agreement with the version
sung here, but Shruti Sadolikar obviously
knows best.

I am quite taken by this piece by Bundu Khan.

From I find
this description

This raga is sung at the third part of the night i.e., from 12 a.m.
to 3 a.m. The season of its recitation is winter (sharad) i.e.,
during October and November. In Guru Granth Sahib it has hymns
from pages 595 - 659 (64 pages).

Here is a Sikh Shabad in Sorath.

Another nice example.

Here is something I wrote about Sorath in my worst-selling book.

"How beautiful the focused, calm mind is. No thought dares disturb
the mind that has found peace through singing me. The eternal
are twined within every phrase you make and create within
me and they
do not see the need to hide or be elusive. Why be
reborn? You can
commit no evil when you sing me. Your sins melt
and drip away as you
go past Nishad and into the next octave,
exploring, exploring, asking
the same questions over and over and
waiting to listen to the answers
again and again because they are
so clear. Your mind will dive deeper
and deeper into the depths of
your soul, finding more and more and yet
returning effortlessly to
the present, understanding that the restlessness
of the outer world
is an illusion that has to be endured till your soul
is ready to move
on from its temporary home. Your body does not seek
your attention
anymore. Your mind becomes the incense for the outside
After singing me, listen to silence and see that there was no

difference after all."

Tilak Kamod is a great favourite of mine. This lovely Raaga is ideal
putting babies to sleep and I remember composing a few tunes
in this Raaga
when my son was small. He did not sleep too well,
unfortunately, hehe.

Tilak Kamod is quite close to Desh but has interesting variations. The
Pa->Sa is a signal. Re-Ma(extended)- Ga is the lullaby touch. And
so is Sa->Ni

Here are some examples

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Here are some words I wrote on Tilak Kamod a long time ago.

The moon sighs with delight as the rays of its light gently
fall upon the face of your child. The glowing innocence on its
face is a challenge to its own beauty, and the moon smiles. It
seems as if the whispering cadence of the notes of this comforting
Raaga will never end as long as the child sleeps, with dreams
filled with flowers, colours and the ever-present love of its

Subtle differences make for unfathomable joy. The reader who has
not had
the fortune of learning formally should not feel intimidated.
Plenty of listening is just as good. Do not let regrets bog you down.
Let music fill your home, car, thoughts and heart.



Do not be misled. I know nothing about music and cannot accept
liability for
decisions or conclusions reached because you were
tricked by this article. Listen
at your own risk.


Anonymous said...

Great effort :)

Music is my nature
Music is my Love
Music is my destination...

Btw..Merry Christmas to you and yours :)

Anonymous said...

great article. thanks.

harish somayaji