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GCSE Music Analysis - Rag Desh - Performed by Steve Gorn and Benjy Wertheimer

Updated on June 16, 2015

General Points

  • Steve Gorn and Benjy Wertheimer are two American musicians.
  • This version of Rag Desh is from an album that they released in 2004.
  • Gorn plays the Bansuri, while Wertheimer plays the Esraj and the Tabla.

Instrumentation

This version of Rag Desh has the 5 following instruments:

  1. Shruti Box: an electronic instrument that plays a drone (a sustained note).
  2. Swarmandel: a Plucked string instrument.
  3. Esraj: a bowed string instrument.
  4. Bansuri: a Bamboo flute that has holes instead of keys.
  5. Tabla: a pair of drums.

Rhythm

This version of Rag Desh uses two tals (cycle of beats). The:

  • Rupak Tal which is a 7 beat cycle (3 + 2 + 2)
  • Ektal which is a 12 beat cycle (2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2)

Steve Gorn playing the Bansuri.
Steve Gorn playing the Bansuri.

Structure

Alap:

  • The Alap starts with a drone on the notes D and A.
  • The Bansuri then introduces the mood and the notes of the rag.
  • The Erraj then takes over.
  • The tempo is slow, and there is no regular beat or pulse.

Gat:

  • The Gat begins with a Bansuri solo.
  • About 30 seconds after the beginning of the Gat, the Tabla enters.
  • The Bansuri starts to play the composed Gat shortly after the Tabla enters.
  • The Bansuri an Tabla both improvise things around the Gat and the Tal.
  • The section ends on a final Tihal (repetition of a rhythmic pattern).

Gat 2:

  • This is a fast Gat in Ektal (12-beat cycle of 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2).
  • This section starts with a Tabla solo.
  • The improvisations become more elaborate and virtuosic.
  • The Bansuri plays Tans (fast scales).
  • The piece ends with 3 Tihais.

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