A unique project - notating Indian classical music for solo ‘western’ instruments  initiated by Jonathan Mayer and developed in association with zerOclassikal

Ten ragas have been notated for Violin, Viola, Cello, Oboe, Recorder, Clarinet, Jazz Clarinet, Vibraphone, Flute and Alto Flute by the renowned sitarist/composer – Jonathan Mayer.   

Each raga is accompanied by a tabla (percussion) accompaniment and are available as score sheets and a video recording.  

The ragas include Bageshri, Bhairavi, Bihag, Charukeshi, Darbari, Kedar, Lalit, Pahadi, Pardeep and Puria Dhanashri.  

The project aims to de- mystify Indian classical music for western musicians.  

An Indian classical Raga performance attempts to take the audience on a journey of emotions and interpretation, gained by the improvisational skills of the performer. It is an aural tradition, where the rasa (mood) of each raga is taught by the guru (teacher) to the pupil through mirroring improvisation techniques of the teacher.  

However, this process excludes other musical and wider communities. Many ‘western’ trained musicians do not improvise; they’ve learnt a tradition of reading music and interpreting what the composer has written. If they wanted to study Indian music, they have to embark on a long journey of learning phrasing, rhythms and essentially how to improvise in a new language.  Raga for Western Instruments gives ‘western’ trained musicians the opportunity to perform Indian classical music compositions in all its sections of Alap, Jor, Vilambit, Teental and Drut Teental – for an experience of a full Raga concert.  

The project is also aimed at the educational sector- in particular at the KS3/GSCE level.  It offers teachers the resources and confidence to introduce Indian classical music at no cost – worksheets, descriptive videos and a virtual tabla player to play along with.