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GCSE Music Analysis - Rag Desh Performed By Anoushka Shankar

Updated on May 9, 2012

General Points:
- Anoushka is the daughter of the very famous Indian musician Ravi Shankhar.
- This version was recorded live in 2001.
- It was recorded at a concert in New York.

Anoushka Shankar with Sitar.
Anoushka Shankar with Sitar.


The 2 instruments in this piece are the Sitar and the Tabla.

- A Sitar is a plucked string instrument.
It has a very long neck and seven main strings which are used to play the melody. There are also 12 sympathetic strings on a Sitar. These strings are not plucked but resonate with the other strings to create a the characteristic 'shimmering' sound.

- A Tabla is a pair of drums.
The right drum is smaller, thus higher pitched, and made of wood. It is called the dayan. The left one is larger and made of metal and is called the bayan. The musician plays the Tabla mainly with their fingers.


This version of Rag Desh uses 2 tals (cycle of beats).
The Jhaptal is a 10 beat cycle (2 + 3 + 2 + 3)
the Tintal is a 16 beat cycle (4 + 4 + 4 + 4)


- This section is played by the Sitar only.
- It is slow with no regular beat or pulse.
- The melodic line is decorated with slides and pitch bends which are called meends.
- The Tabla enters a few seconds after the Gat begins.
- The Sitar plays a fixed composition in a moderate tempo.
- The Sitar and the Tabla improvise.
- The tempo increases towards the end of this piece.
The music is fast and virtuosic.
- The Sitar strings are strummed to create rhythmic excitement.


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      Your GCSE Music Guide 

      19 months ago

      There are three full versions of Rag Desh, any could come up for Section A and Section B.

      These are the 3 versions that you need to learn and revise:

      1) Rag Desh - Anoushka Shankar (2001)

      2) Rag Desh - Chiranji Lal Tanwar (2004)

      3) Rag Desh - Steve Gorn and Benjy Wertheimer (2004)

      All of these versions are different e.g. they all use different instruments and have a different structure.

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      2 years ago

      What's the time signature for this piece?

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      GCSE Teacher 

      2 years ago

      You wont need that for the exam, its the only piece not needing it.

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      3 years ago

      The piece is based around a raga which is the equivalent of F major

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      3 years ago

      Does anyone know about the tonality of this piece?

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      3 years ago

      Thank you so much for your pages you are going to help me so much with my GCSE!!!

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      4 years ago

      no tambura just a sitar and tabla the drone is played by the sitar.

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      4 years ago

      The drone is formed from sympathetic strings beneath the main melodic strings on the sitar and another instrument: the TAMBURA.

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      4 years ago

      You forgot the Drone that goes on in the background!


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