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raga and Bach

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  • Christopher Bailey
    ... My understanding is that a Rag is a like a scale, but one that comes with a set of rules or guidelines about how the tones move one to the other -- for
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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      >
      >Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas. Ragas are
      >melodies, perhaps modes. In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
      >relevant.
      >

      My understanding is that a Rag is a like a scale, but one that comes
      with a set of "rules" or "guidelines" about how the tones move one to the
      other -- for example, Note X only appears as a neighbor of Note Y, or
      Note P must always resolve to Note Q. A Rag is not a melody . . it is a
      bunch of possibilities for how to construct melodies.

      Therefore, from that point of view, the Major Scale of Western
      Classical Music could be looked at as one raga, with certain . . if not
      rules, then guidelines. . . the leading tone (scale degree 7), tends
      to want to resolve up to 1 --- the 4, tends to want to resolve down to
      3. also, of course, 1 and 3 are points of rest, 5 is kind of neutral,
      etc. these aspects of major and minor, that go beyond a simple,
      character-less scale set, are what reminds me of the Rag idea.


      Also, I think major and minor are different. . . for example, in the
      minor mode, when you descend, 7 and 6 are typically flattened, when
      ascending, typically raised. Again, that's a melodic "guideline"
      that's very Rag-like, I think.
    • Aaron K. Johnson
      ... This is incorrect. Ravi Shankar in his Introduction to Indian Music recording states that ragas are neither melodies nor scales , but rather a set of
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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        On Friday 31 December 2004 10:29 am, Afmmjr@... wrote:
        > Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas. Ragas are
        > melodies, perhaps modes.

        This is incorrect. Ravi Shankar in his 'Introduction to Indian Music'
        recording states that ragas are "neither melodies nor scales", but rather a
        set of rules for the construction of melodies, which is different than what
        you just said above. A good definition of a rag would be a "precise melodic
        formula", as Shankar suggests.

        > In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
        > relevant. Besides major and minor both have the same leading tone
        > functions. WIII provides for 3 diffferent leading tones.

        Leading tones, being 'tendency tones', *are* relevant to the discussion,
        because it is sort of a Western version of a rag idea--certain tones tend to
        resolve in certain ways. Not a rag idea precisely, but suggestive of the same
        idea, albeit in simpler form.

        It seems to me a bit "Procrustian" to try to link Werck III to anything about
        Indian music. Different worlds.

        Best,
        --
        Aaron Krister Johnson
        http://www.akjmusic.com
        http://www.dividebypi.com
      • Afmmjr@aol.com
        In a message dated 1/1/2005 2:21:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, akjmicro@comcast.net writes: ... This is incorrect. Ravi Shankar in his Introduction to Indian
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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          In a message dated 1/1/2005 2:21:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, akjmicro@... writes:
          On Friday 31 December 2004 10:29 am, Afmmjr@... wrote:
          > Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas.  Ragas are
          > melodies, perhaps modes. 

          This is incorrect. Ravi Shankar in his 'Introduction to Indian Music'
          recording states that ragas are "neither melodies nor scales", but rather a
          set of rules for the construction of melodies, which is different than what
          you just said above. A good definition of a rag would be a "precise melodic
          formula", as Shankar suggests.
          Before jumping the gun about corrrect and incorrect, please note the word "perhaps" used twice.  Scales are extracts from a larger set, ragas appear to be complete in themselves.  Bismillah Khan declared that there were an infinite number of ragas. 
           
          As for Ravi Shankar, he is not the lone arbiter on this issue.  There are rules for every vocabulary of music.  "Precise melodic formula" would include Maqam, as well, and yet we hold these distinct.  Maqam can modulate but raga does not, for example.
           
          Early ethnomusicologists tried in vain to get Indian musicians to play a raga in a straight "scale" but they were always refused.

          > In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
          > relevant. Besides major and minor both have the same leading tone
          > functions.  WIII provides for 3 diffferent leading tones.

          Leading tones, being 'tendency tones', *are* relevant to the discussion,
          because it is sort of a Western version of a rag idea--certain tones tend to
          resolve in certain ways. Not a rag idea precisely, but suggestive of the same
          idea, albeit in simpler form.
           
          My point was that the leading tone is used in both major and minor for the same reasons.  The mention of WIII is due to the topic being addressed to JS Bach.  Read Christoph Wolff that WIII is the likely tuning for Bach.


          It seems to me a bit "Procrustian" to try to link Werck III to anything about
          Indian music. Different worlds.
          And yet, that was the topic: Bach and Raga.

          Best,
          --
          Aaron Krister Johnson
          http://www.akjmusic.com
          http://www.dividebypi.com
          Best, Johnny Reinhard
        • Can Akkoc
          Christopher, What you have described smells very much like the maqam concept/structure in maqam music. Can Akkoc ... My understanding is that a Rag is a
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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            Christopher,
             
            What you have described "smells" very much like the 'maqam' concept/structure in maqam music.
             
            Can Akkoc

            Christopher Bailey <chris@...> wrote:

            >
            >Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas.  Ragas are
            >melodies, perhaps modes.  In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
            >relevant.
            >

            My understanding is that a Rag is a like a scale, but one that comes with a set of "rules" or "guidelines" about how the tones move one to the other -- for example,  Note X only appears as a neighbor of Note Y, or Note P must always resolve to Note Q.  A Rag is not a melody . . it is a
            bunch of possibilities for how to construct melodies.

            Therefore,  from that point of view,  the  Major Scale of Western Classical Music could be looked at as one raga, with certain . . if not rules,  then guidelines. . .  the leading tone (scale degree 7),  tends to want to resolve up to 1 --- the 4,  tends to want to resolve down to
            3.  also, of course,  1 and 3 are points of rest,  5 is kind of neutral, 
            etc.   these aspects of major and minor,  that go beyond a simple, character-less scale set, are what reminds me of the Rag idea.


            Also, I think major and minor are different. . . for example,  in the minor mode,  when you descend,  7 and 6 are typically flattened,  when ascending,  typically raised.    Again,  that's a melodic "guideline" that's very Rag-like,  I think.



            Can Akko´┐Ż

            can193849@...
          • Ozan Yarman
            That sounds a lot like the definition of `Maqam`. Cordially, Ozan ... From: Christopher Bailey To: tuning@yahoogroups.com Sent: 01 Ocak 2005 Cumartesi 18:36
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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              That sounds a lot like the definition of `Maqam`.
               
              Cordially,
              Ozan
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: 01 Ocak 2005 Cumartesi 18:36
              Subject: [tuning] raga and Bach

              >
              >Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas.  Ragas are
              >melodies, perhaps modes.  In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
              >relevant.
              >

              My understanding is that a Rag is a like a scale, but one that comes
              with a set of "rules" or "guidelines" about how the tones move one to the
              other -- for example,  Note X only appears as a neighbor of Note Y,  or
              Note P must always resolve to Note Q.  A Rag is not a melody . . it is a
              bunch of possibilities for how to construct melodies.

              Therefore,  from that point of view,  the  Major Scale of Western
              Classical Music could be looked at as one raga, with certain . . if not
              rules,  then guidelines. . .  the leading tone (scale degree 7),  tends
              to want to resolve up to 1 --- the 4,  tends to want to resolve down to
              3.  also, of course,  1 and 3 are points of rest,  5 is kind of neutral, 
              etc.   these aspects of major and minor,  that go beyond a simple,
              character-less scale set, are what reminds me of the Rag idea.


              Also, I think major and minor are different. . . for example,  in the
              minor mode,  when you descend,  7 and 6 are typically flattened,  when
              ascending,  typically raised.    Again,  that's a melodic "guideline"
              that's very Rag-like,  I think.

            • Ozan Yarman
              Not all maqams modulate as far as I know. All the best, Ozan ... From: Afmmjr@aol.com To: tuning@yahoogroups.com Sent: 01 Ocak 2005 Cumartesi 21:52 Subject:
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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                Not all maqams modulate as far as I know.
                 
                All the best,
                Ozan
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: 01 Ocak 2005 Cumartesi 21:52
                Subject: Re: [tuning] raga and Bach

                In a message dated 1/1/2005 2:21:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, akjmicro@... writes:
                On Friday 31 December 2004 10:29 am, Afmmjr@... wrote:
                > Perhaps a greater distinction is that scales are not ragas.  Ragas are
                > melodies, perhaps modes. 

                This is incorrect. Ravi Shankar in his 'Introduction to Indian Music'
                recording states that ragas are "neither melodies nor scales", but rather a
                set of rules for the construction of melodies, which is different than what
                you just said above. A good definition of a rag would be a "precise melodic
                formula", as Shankar suggests.
                Before jumping the gun about corrrect and incorrect, please note the word "perhaps" used twice.  Scales are extracts from a larger set, ragas appear to be complete in themselves.  Bismillah Khan declared that there were an infinite number of ragas. 
                 
                As for Ravi Shankar, he is not the lone arbiter on this issue.  There are rules for every vocabulary of music.  "Precise melodic formula" would include Maqam, as well, and yet we hold these distinct.  Maqam can modulate but raga does not, for example.
                 
                Early ethnomusicologists tried in vain to get Indian musicians to play a raga in a straight "scale" but they were always refused.

                > In that sense, the "leading tone" syntax is not
                > relevant. Besides major and minor both have the same leading tone
                > functions.  WIII provides for 3 diffferent leading tones.

                Leading tones, being 'tendency tones', *are* relevant to the discussion,
                because it is sort of a Western version of a rag idea--certain tones tend to
                resolve in certain ways. Not a rag idea precisely, but suggestive of the same
                idea, albeit in simpler form.
                 
                My point was that the leading tone is used in both major and minor for the same reasons.  The mention of WIII is due to the topic being addressed to JS Bach.  Read Christoph Wolff that WIII is the likely tuning for Bach.


                It seems to me a bit "Procrustian" to try to link Werck III to anything about
                Indian music. Different worlds.
                And yet, that was the topic: Bach and Raga.

                Best,
                --
                Aaron Krister Johnson
                http://www.akjmusic.com
                http://www.dividebypi.com
                Best, Johnny Reinhard
              • monz
                i don t claim to have any expertise in the musical cultures and theories of India, Persia, or Turkey, aside from my investigations into Indian tunings. but
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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                  i don't claim to have any expertise in the musical cultures
                  and theories of India, Persia, or Turkey, aside from my
                  investigations into Indian tunings.

                  but from what i know about world history, i would not be
                  surprised to find similarities between those three musical
                  cultures which stem from ancient times ... Indian and Persian
                  being one connected group, and Persian and Turkish being another.

                  European theories and practices would appear far more recently
                  in the big picture, only being introduced into those three
                  musical cultures no earlier than about 1700 or so. my guess
                  would be that the highly developed ancient Indian culture
                  and its possible reflections in Persian and Turkish would
                  persevere even in the face of the introduction of European
                  elements.

                  that's just my food for thought ...



                  -monz
                • Ozan Yarman
                  Monz is right, barring the fact that the `musical revolution` in Turkey circa 1926-1936 upheld the doctrine that the only `universal` music was ought to be the
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 1, 2005
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                    Monz is right, barring the fact that the `musical revolution` in Turkey circa 1926-1936 upheld the doctrine that the only `universal` music was ought to be the nationalist synthesis of Western-style neo-classicism mingled with folk songs (if such a thing were possible!), resulting in a crippled Maqam Music methodology designed to ban any references to `quarter-tones`, and hence lift all obstacles in the way of `traditional Western polyphony`. Such a compromise did not help, however, against the state-sponsored prohibition of genuine Maqam Music which was condescended as `Alla Turca` for a very long time.
                     
                    The mess caused by this recklessness is a sight to see. I hope that my thesis can help remedy the situation and unite the Maqam Music tradition throughout the Middle East.
                     
                    Best,
                    Ozan
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: monz
                    Sent: 02 Ocak 2005 Pazar 0:41
                    Subject: [tuning] Re: raga and Bach


                    i don't claim to have any expertise in the musical cultures
                    and theories of India, Persia, or Turkey, aside from my
                    investigations into Indian tunings. 

                    but from what i know about world history, i would not be
                    surprised to find similarities between those three musical
                    cultures which stem from ancient times ... Indian and Persian
                    being one connected group, and Persian and Turkish being another.

                    European theories and practices would appear far more recently
                    in the big picture, only being introduced into those three
                    musical cultures no earlier than about 1700 or so.  my guess
                    would be that the highly developed ancient Indian culture
                    and its possible reflections in Persian and Turkish would
                    persevere even in the face of the introduction of European
                    elements.

                    that's just my food for thought ...



                    -monz



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