• Raag Saraswati Sarang •


Despite the prachalit status of both its parents, the Saraswati + Sarang compound is rare to the point of extinction: the only rendition I can definitively trace is that of Gopal Krishnan on the vichitra veena (‘curious string instrument’). His recording revolves around an ear-catching nD MPDS pakad, often separating the twin Ma swaras into ‘inverted’ phrase-shapes (PMP, mRm). Also see Ambika Sarang (in fact, it could be argued that the ragas are one and the same: apart from being prakriti, ‘Ambika’ is mythologically tied to the goddess Saraswati – however, to my ears, Krishnan’s rendition takes a markedly distinct path through the swaras). Read more about Krishnan in the album’s liner notes (“His father, himself a noted surbahar player, was his first guru…later, he became a foremost disciple of Ravi Shankar…He is also a good vocalist, and plays several other instruments such as jaltarang, tabla, guitar, and ektara [one-string folk-lute]…which he plays in the classical style”) – and also discover the unique sounds of his vichitra veena, a seldom-seen 22-string creation with few living masters, pitch-controlled with a glass ball.

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—Gopal Krishna (~1970s)—

[refrain, e.g. 0:08] RM(PD) P(MP), mRm R, SS, (S)nD MPDS, S, S, S\DS R, m\RR M, P M(D)P mRm, R, S, RM(P)DP mRm RS, nD MPDS


• Classifiers •

Explore hidden inter-raga connections: swara geometries, melodic features, murchana sets, ragangas, & more (also see the Full Tag List):

Swaras: -4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10+

Sapta: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Poorvang: SRGM | SRG | SRM | SGM

Uttarang: PDNS | PDS | PNS | DNS

Varjit: Re | Ga | Ma | Pa | Dha | Ni

Double: rR | gG | mM | dD | nN

Thaat: 10 | 32Enclosed | Inexact

Chal: All-shuddha | All-komal | Ma-tivra

Gaps: Anh. | Hemi. | 3-row | 4-row | 5-row

Symmetries: Mirror | Rotation | Palindr.

Aroha: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Avroh: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Jati: Equal | Balanced | Av.+1 | Av.+2

Samay: Morning | Aftern. | Eve. | Night

Murchana: Bhup. | Bihag | Bilaw. | Charu.

Raganga: Bhairav | Malhar | Kan. | Todi

Construction: Jod | Mishra | Oddball

Origin: Ancient | Carnatic | Modern

Dominance: Poorvang | Uttarang

Prevalence: A-list | Prachalit | Aprach.


• Prakriti: Ambika Sarang


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRmMPDnNS
Reverse: SrRgmMPnS
Negative: 5-2-1-4
Imperfect: 2 (Ma, Dha)
Detached: none
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: Lachari Kanada set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Saranga Malhar
Jazz: Aeoliogyllic
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • • o o o • o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Saraswati Sarang, Sarasvatee Sarang, (~Ambika Sarang?)



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George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher (guitars, sitar, tabla, & santoor). Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the voices, cultures, and passions behind them. See Homepage for more, and hit me up for Lessons!

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