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randyh

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Hi,

I've been with my teacher now for 5 years and the more I learn, the more variable the gats seem to become. When working in different beats on a raga, my teacher even exclaimed "You go ahead and put together a gat that works for you here. . ."

I always been under the impression that gats were the fixed, almost sacred part of the music that got passed down. It seems some ragas might have more room for variation here than others within a certain framework and expression. I'm curious about different viewpoints here.
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Kirya

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My understanding is that in the beginning it is important to play the gat as the teacher gives it to you note for note, especially when you don't know a raag well. The gat codifies the basic rules of the raga so it is important that you keep the visage of raag intact and play the gat as exactly as you can. But this music is all about improvisation so you once you are comfortable, and have the basic gat in your hand, you should start changing little bits -- like 4 beats at a time.

As you advance you are expected to make appropriate modifications to the gat on every repetition except when you play lehra but even there I have seen players make small changes that do not chaage the core rhythmic cues that the tabalchi needs.

My teacher used to make up the gats on the spot because he knew the raag well and make sure he had key patterns in the gat he gave me. Sometimes if he liked one he had heard somewhere he would loosely model it on that in a simplified form e.g. my teacher used a lot of PNB gats. I find that when I make up my own gats (after learning several as well as I can that have been composed my much better musicians than me) I am much more able to reproduce them at will without notes just from memory.

For me the process is that after I have steeped in the rag for several months I find I can come up with combinations that are derived from all the gats I have learned e.g. I listened to and learned as much as I could from Kaunsi Kanada gats played by PRS, AAK and PNB as well Sharan Rani -- (really the only ones I could play at any level of competence were the PRS and Sharan Rani version)

The PNB ones are usually the most challenging because he changes them almost every taal cycle and they are usually much more melodically dense, really big meends and complex and subtle but they are wonderful to help you get a feel for the raag.

So after doing this for 9 months or so in my case I came up with some ideas of my "own" gats that you can hear here:

They are of course based on everything I have heard and learned before, so they are very heavily derived but yet they are still kind of mine. The first one will be configured for a slow 7 or 1o beat cycle and the second one is already a clear madhaya 16 beat. I notice that over time they get smoother and more and more coherent like a song.


So next I am learning Jog and Darbari, and my core gats to learn the raga are For Jog (Indrajit Banerjee, PRS and UVK) and for Darbari (UVK, USP and a sarod player) -- after I learn to play these for a few months I will start getting a feel for a gat of my own, that may be a blend of these, or based on the clear patterns I have learned.

I think it is a very good way to learn to make your own gats, together with listening to several vocal versions of the same raga, which I find are super helpful to get nice little chalan and pakad phrases that you can piece together.

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Kirya
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producito

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Hi All
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Kirya

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It is also generally recommended that even when you start changing a gat that is taught to you that you leave the mukhda alone and as is and focus your improvisations on the latter part of the gat and of course you should be able to play it in it's original form before you begin to change it.
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Kirya
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