Heart of glass, and Rag Marwa

Heart of glass is yet another masterpiece from the late 70s—just after Naturträne.

Apart from its spacey vibe, there’s one detail of Debbie Harry’s song that Yer Average fan will experience instinctively, but the tedious analytical bent of the musicologist may home in on: the hallucinatory temporary modulation at the end of the third line (find/blind), fleetingly sketching a major triad on la—all the more ironic for the deflation expressed by the lyric.

That harmonic shift reminds me of rag Marwa, with its implied major scale on Dha/la (A major, one might say) over the Sa–Pa/do–so/C–G drone, the flat re (C♯) clashing with the tonic. Sure, Heart of glass hardly compares with the complexities of the ascending and descending scales of the raga, worked through over a long period, but hey.

Most transcendental are renditions in dhrupad style. Here’s Zia Mohiuddin Dagar on rudra vina, in his last year:

And Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar:

Nikhil Banerjee on sitar:

Here’s a sarangi version from Sultan Khan (compliments to the heading ‘Marwa’-lous!)):

For another rendition on sarangi by Ram Narayan, click here. For Amjad Ali Khan on sarod, see under Raga at the Proms; and for Hariprasad Chaurasia on bansuri, see Raga for winds.

For a roundup of my series on raga, with a general introduction, see here.

6 thoughts on “Heart of glass, and Rag Marwa

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