Title: Raga Nau
Year Completed: 2013
Duration: 4:30 mins
Instrumentation: Flute Quintet (piccolo, 2 C flutes, alto flute, bass flute)
Credits: Commissioned by Sonja Giles and Kim Scott for the 2013 National Flute Convention
Premiere: August 9, 2013, Mariott New Orleans: Sonja Giles, Kim Scott, Erica Peel, Shivhan Dohse, Christine Beard and Derek Charke, flutes

Purchase/Rent: Canadian Music Centre

Raga Nau is not based on an authentic Raga, but rather attempts to create a meditative character. Raga Nau is in 9/8 time, subdivided 3+2+2+2. ‘Nau’ is the English translation of the number nine in Hindi. Similar to my other Raga flute works, Raga Nau plays with several polyrhythmic patterns that define the rhythmic flavour of the piece. At any time several distinctive subdivisions of the 9/8 time are at play. The alto and bass flutes act an isorhythmic talea, perhaps imitative of the tabla. While the other three 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 nau