Veena and Vani - A musical conversation in Raga Shuddha Sarang

Posted on 03 April, 20224 min read

Indian Classical music has a time-honoured tradition of vocals and veena performing together. You may have already read about it during our earlier presentation of Veena-Vani duet in Raga Bhimpalasi.

It has been said that an Indian Classical musician’s training is complete when as a vocalist they are trained on a veena, or as a Vainika (veena player) they are trained in vocals. In other words, a vocalist ought to imbibe the best practices of Tantrakari (instrumental traits) in their voice, and a Vainika ought to imbibe the best practices of Gayaki (vocal traits) on Veena. While this practice used to be common across Indian traditions, only a few schools of music in Dhrupad still follow it.

In this session, we present a Chandraveena - Vocal duet in Raga Shuddha Sarang. We present a Raga Alapana, consisting of Alap and Jod, also known as Alapana and Tanam.

We are pleased to feature Aparna Shastri on vocals. She is a trained vocalist under master vocalist late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. She has also received guidance from Pandit Uday Bhawalkar and Ustad Mohi Bahauddin Dagar.

As two musicians trained in the same school of music, we understand the structure and the flow of music so as to present a unified music - rather than as two musicians presenting independent versions of the Raga. Another point to note is that as a Vainika performing with a Vocalist, I have to adapt to the singing style so that we complement each other.

To contrast this, you can also hear my solo version of Raga Shuddha Sarang. While you will find similarities in the structure of the presentation, as a soloist, I can take full advantage of the range of my instrument, and every instrumental technique available to me.

However, here, we feed off each other ideas, pick up from where the other leaves, completing their phrases and so on. It is meant to be a Sangeet Samvad (a musical conversation). Hope we have captured the true spirit of a duet. Enjoy the music!

Program Notes

Raga Alapana in Shuddha Sarang

Raga Alapana is an improvisation and a systematic presentation of a Raga. This part has no rhythmic accompaniment. It has three parts - Alap, Jod and Jhala. This format is also known as Ragam and Tanam.

Here are some notes about the Raga.

Raga - Shuddha Sarang

Scale - Sa Re ma Ma Pa Dha Ni

Family - Sarang

Melakarta - Varjita Bhashanga Janya Raga of Mechakalyani (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni)

Prahar - 3rd and 4th (equivalent to 12 PM - 6 PM)

Reading the scale

In Indian Classical Music, the seven notes in an octave are called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni and then Sa comes again. Notes with a capitalised first letter are called Tivra (or sharp) notes. E.g., Re above. Notes written fully in lower case are called Komal (or flat) notes E.g., ma above. Sa and Pa are always written with a capitalized first letter.

Bhashanga Raga

A Janya (or derivative) Raga of a Melakarta which uses a note outside of the Melakarta notes. In this raga, ma (Komal Madhyam) is outside of Kalyani (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni).

Varjita Raga

A Varjita Raga of a Melakarta drops one or more notes from the parent scale. In this case, Ga is dropped from the original scale.

Janya Raga

A Janya Raga is a derivative Raga from a parent Melakarta scale. The Janya Raga could be Audav (pentatonic), Shadav (hexatonic) or Sampoorna (heptatonic).


In Indian Classical Music, Ragas are classified into Prahars (time periods of a day or night) which are said to represent the most appropriate time to perform the Raga.



Chandraveena - S Balachander

Vocals - Aparna Shastri


Sadharani Music Works -

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