Learning to Play Indian Classical Ragas on Spanish Guitar

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Tips for Learning To Play Classical Indian Ragas on Spanish Guitar

Indian Classical Ragas

Learning to play Classical Indian Ragas on a Spanish Guitar can be quite a fulfilling experience especially if you have an interest in both Indian Classical Raagas and learning to master the finger movements on a Spanish Guitar!

I have had the good fortune of learning to play 4-5 Indian Ragas on my guitar. Though in the beginning, I was quite paranoid about the idea of learning to play a raag, it slowly grew on me!

Up till that point, my only understanding of the word raag was limited to what I had heard a couple of times on television.

I knew it was not going to be easy but what I had no clue about was the fact that I was going to thoroughly enjoy playing it! I’d like to share by simple tips and experiences of learning to play ragas with those of you who might be thinking of doing the same :

Most Do’s – Tips for learning to play a raag on your guitar –

  • Understand the structure and elements that make up a Indian Raag / Raga.
  • Understand how the Raag may be divided into systematic parts.
  • Begin by getting familiar with the swaras in the raag and the rules that apply to that specific raga. eg. certain notes may not be included ina particular raag as a rule – “ni” is not played (varjit) in Raga Bhupali
  • Begin by playing the Aaroh, Avroh and Pakkad – these should help you in familiarizing yourself with the swaras in the raga as well as the mood of the raaga.
  • Start by playing slowly and making a mental note of the notes you are playing and the tune in which they are played.
  • Play one line at a time.
  • Understand the connection between the sthahi, antara and the taan (toda). Experience how the todas join back to the raga.
  • Play the taan at double the speed of the raga.
  • Practice, Practice and Practice – There are no two ways about it – practice will make you perfect!

Goal : While learning to play the raga on your guitar and practicing it, keep the ultimate goal in mind – To play the entire raga from Aaroh to Toda without stopping and maintain the correct tempo throughout the course of the raga!

The ragas which I enjoy playing the most include – Raag Bhupali, Raga Bhim Palasi and Raag Jaunpuri.

Contributed by – Akanksha, Music Enthusiast

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