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)

Purchase/Rent: Theodore Presser

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.


(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.
Stacks Image 587

derek charke saat