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Harmonica Lessons: "Hejaz Kar"

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Hi, you might notice that
there's a very calm feeling
that's starting this lesson.
That's because my friend the Ragini Pro
is on the floor over here.
It's an Indian drone box
that simulates a tambura,
which is an Indian instrument with
strings, with a curved bridge.
And when the person plucks these strings,
they kind of buzz over the bridge and
create a drone.
And this is a little box
that does the same thing.
Some people call,
there are ones called Shruti boxes,
there's all sorts of drones in
Indian music, and the reason why,
is that I'm gonna deal with a type
of scale that is found very
commonly all throughout
the Middle east and in India.
In the Middle East, it is called the Hejaz
Kar, and in Middle Eastern classical music
traditions, these types of scales
called the mhuam, M-H-U-A-M.
In Indian music, this scale corresponds
to one of the Indian Rags called,
birav and the way it goes it is,
let me raise the microphone a little bit.
The way this scale goes,
it's kind of like a major scale but
not, cuz the second note is flatted.
So it's one, flat two,
three, four, five, and then flat six.
And seven and then one.
So you need a few bends.
The notes are C, D flat,
E, F, G, A flat, B.
So the top is like what we
would play as a harmonic minor.
But it's major.
[SOUND] And then a flat second.
[SOUND] So in terms of Western modes,
it's a combination of several,
like the phryigian flat second,
but then it's got the major third,
and then it's got the flat sixth and
major seventh.
In the second octave it sounds like this.
Intermediate players can easily
play it because these are just bends,
there's no over blows.
like playing
the scale
Instead of going
we're going
So you can ornament these things.
The harmonica lends itself very
well to this scale, C harmonica.
There's a very famous tune, it was a Greek
tune, I believe, called Misirlou or
I don't remember what it was,
but it went like this.
the beginning of
it, and then.
You can do it in
the bottom octave.
It gives you
an opportunity to
that bend.
Which if you are playing blues or
western music, you don't hardly ever use
that bend from all the way down to all
the way up, but in Hejaz Kar, there it is.
So this
is something to
play around with.
It's using the bends on the harmonica
to get a different kind of bluesiness.
This is a Middle Eastern or
Indian bluesiness.
Now I said to you that in Indian music,
this scale,
that we think of as a scale,
is also the basic scale for a raga,
I think this is, called bhairav,
and I've learned something about ragas
from playing with Indian musicians, and
for all of you who are very curious
about ragas, Indian students,
western students, who wanna learn,
there is one wonderful book, and
I'm gonna hold it up in front
of the camera right now.
It's called The Raga Guide, and
it's published by a company called Nimbus,
and it contains a survey
of 74 Hindustani ragas.
This is from northern India.
This is northern Indian classical music
tradition, which is partially derived
from Persian music because the moguls
from Persia who built the Taj Mahal
also brought a lot of their music,
and created
the combination of this music, and the
things that were already there in India,
went into what's currently known
as Indian classical music.
So this is somewhere in the 15th or
16th centuries I think.
And so this Hejaz Kar, which is from
Hejaz, which is a city in Persia,
also was brought to India,
and it's known as Birav.
So there's a very big interplay
between the musics of the Middle East,
the near east, India,
it's something that's very fascinating,
and our humble little instrument
can play a lot of this stuff.
a rhythm that
I'm playing
in right now.
It's a ten, 16 rhythm called jorjina.
This is from Iraq.
It's doom ta tech,
doom tech ta,
doom ta tech, doom tech.
So one two three, one two,
one two, one two three.
It's a form of ten.
I learned this rhythm playing with
the Lebanese ute player,
Rabiyah Buhaleal, and
we've recorded two albums.
I recorded two albums with him.
One's the Sultan's Picnic and the other
is called Odd Times on Inja Records.