Indian Classical: Raaga on guitar

by Rousseau Mannan

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  • Hello all GMC members. This is my first lesson for GMC and I'm really honored to be here. You all might already have heard about raagas. To explain what raaga is in a simple manner I would just say that raagas are basically a sort of modes used in Indian Classical music. Later I will explain more about raagas and Indian Classical music.

    This lesson is a simple example of playing raaga with guitar. It is an improvisation on a
    raaga based Dhun (Melody) on a Trital (3/4) originally played by the great sitar player Ravi
    Shankar. As you might notice that IMC (Indian Classical Music) is very different in nature
    from the western music. There are a lot of use of Microtones (intervals of less than an equally
    spaced semitone or intervals not found in the Western system of 12 equal intervals to the octave)which is really hard to play on a fretted instrument. To achieve that tonal quality in guitar,I've used a lot of slides and bending and very few picking.

    You may notice that i have only used one finger throughout the piece. Using just one finger gives you a Sitar like effect even when you are not sliding. I also used my index finger to mute the other strings for unwanted noise. I would highly encourage you to experiment with this lesson. Try to improvise and try reducing the amount of picking by using more bends and slides as long as you can sustain the notes.

    If you are interested in similar style of guitar playing, you can check out Jeff Beck's Nadia or Prasanna (An amazing guitarist)on youtube. Hope you will enjoy the ride and have fun. ;)

    Feel free to ask me any kind of question regarding this lesson or anything in general.
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