Raga Saat (2011)
flute quartetPremiered Jan. 28, 2012, by Michelle Cheramy, Mitchell Hamilton, Samantha Hunt & Gillian Sheppard, at the Newfound Music Festival, St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada)
Raga Saat is a companion work to my earlier quartet Raga Cha. Raga Saat is not based on an authentic Raga, but rather attempts to emulate the sound world through the use of various extended flute techniques. It is repetitive and meditative in character.
Raga Saat is in 7/8 time. ‘Saat’ is the English translation of the number seven in Hindi.
Raga Saat plays with several polyrhythmic patterns that define the rhythmic flavour of the piece. At any time there are at least two, if not three or four, distinctive subdivisions of the 7/8 time; the two most common subdivisions being 4+3 (or 2+2+3), and 3+3+1. A further subdivision of 3+3+3+3+2 (in 16th) is heard in the bass voice at all times. This provides a hemiola basso ostinato. At any time one part acts as an isorhythmic talea, perhaps imitative of the tabla. Another part acts as a drone, imitating the Surpeti (Swar peti) or Shruti Box, while one or two voices provide melodic figurations.
Many sounds are created with a technique whereby the flutist must enunciate the word ‘cha’ to produce the desired ‘toneless’ and rough sounding effect.
A triangle note-head indicates a “toneless” attack. Blow across the tone-hole (not into the tone-hole as you normally would) while producing a harsh “CHA” sound.
A square note-head indicates a note to be sung.
"Raga Das" performed by Derek Charke (multi-tracked flutes)