Title: Raga Das
Year Completed: 2012
Duration: 4:30 mins
Instrumentation: Flute Quartet

Purchase/Rent: Canadian Music Centre

Raga Das is a companion work to my earlier quartets: Raga Cha and Raga Saat. It is not based on an authentic Raga, but rather attempts to create a meditative character. Raga Das is also the shortest of the three works, coming in at a little over four minutes in length. Raga Das is in 10/8 (5/4) time. ‘Das’ is the English translation of the number ten in Hindi. Similar to the other Raga flute quartets, Raga Das plays with several polyrhythmic patterns that define the rhythmic flavour of the piece. At any time there are at least two, if not three or four, distinctive subdivisions of the 10/8 time. Flutes 3 and 4 act an isorhythmic talea, perhaps imitative of the tabla. While the other two voices provide melodic figurations. Many sounds are created with a technique whereby the flutist must enunciate the word ‘cha’ to produce the desired ‘toneless’ and rough sounding effect.


(1) A normal notehead indicates ordinary tone. However, often a combination of ordinary tone and chuffing attacks using "ch" sounds (on the bass flute in particular) should be explored.

(2) A triangle notehead indicates a “toneless” attack. Blow across the tone-hole (not into the tone-hole as you normally would) whilst using a harsh "ch", "k", or "t" articulation. For single tonguing use "ch". For double tonguing use "ch k". And for triple tonguing use "ch k t". Feel free to overblow at times capturing some of the harmonics and producing a grittier sound. Experiment with using combinations of "ch k t" for single tongued passages as well.

(3) A diamond notehead indicates aeolian sounds. Produce an airy sound using "sh".

(4) A square notehead indicates a note to be sung.
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derek charke das