Title: Raga Saat Year Completed: 2011 Duration: 9:30 mins Instrumentation: Flute Quartet Premiere: Jan. 28, 2012, by Michelle Cheramy, Mitchell Hamilton, Samantha Hunt & Gillian Sheppard, at the Newfound Music Festival, St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada)
Raga Saat (2011) is a companion work to my first Raga quartet Raga Cha. Similarly, Raga Saat is not based on an authentic Raga, but rather attempts to create a meditative character. Many sounds are created with a technique where the flutist enunciates the syllable cha to produce a desired toneless and rough sounding effect.
Raga Saat is in 7/8 time. Saat is an English translation of the number seven in Hindi. Raga Saat plays with several polyrhythmic patterns that define the rhythmic flavor of the piece. There are at least two (if not three or four) distinctive subdivisions of time, including 4+3 and 3+3+1. A further subdivision of 3+3+3+3+2 (in 16th) is heard in the bass voice at most times providing a hemiola-like ostinato. An isorhythmic talea acts as a drone, imitating the Surpeti (Swar Peti) or Shruti Box, while the other voices provide melodic figurations.