Raga Cha by Derek Charke
For four flutes
Includes score and parts
Raga Cha is a transcription of an improvisation by Derek Charke. It is not based on any authentic Raga but rather attempts to emulate the sound world through the use of various extended flute techniques. It is repetitive and meditative in character. The title 'Cha' is derived from the primary technique used to produce most sounds in this work whereby the flutist must enunciate the word 'cha' to produce the desired effect. One of the flutes acts as the tabla; this is accomplished by singing and playing at the same time. Alteration between a low and high pitch is achieved not by changing fingerings or pitch but by changes in vowel sound and a sudden increase in air pressure adding higher harmonics.Another flute takes on the role of drone acting as the Surpeti (Swar peti) or Shruti Box. Two more flutes provide the variations on a simple descending natural minor scale. Each part has it's own distinctive rhythm. Although each part is very simple as a whole it sounds rather complex. A hemiola rhythm of 2 against 3 opens the piece. Later on 3 against 4 is introduced as the piece builds in complexity. Two thirds of the way into the piece the tonic changes from C in the dorian mode to E-flat in the lydian mode. Further still the tonic changes to G in an aeolian mode and finally ends on the original C dorian.
The piece can be played by either a quartet of C flutes, or 2 C flutes, 1 aloto flute and 1 bass flute, or a solo flute can perform with a click track and a prerecorded soundtrack consisting of the other three parts.