Alapa-Tarana Op.41 for Mezzo-Soprano and Percussion was composed by Poul Rovsing Olsen in 1959.
Programme note: I was encouraged by the singer Jolanda Rodio to write a piece for mezzo-soprano and percussion. In my mind the idea immediately awoke associations of Indian or Arab music, in which the combination of drums together with either an instrument or voice is very common. In a solo performance (as opposed to choral and ensemble performances) the piece is called a "raga" or a "macam".
A "raga" or "macam" is a scale and at the same time a number of melodic formulas. Further more, it is a spiritual concept, a specific "raga" or "macam" expressing a specific emotion. My piece is not based on any traditional Indian "raga" or Arab "macam". The "raga" in my piece is entirely my own invention. The title is derived from Indian music, an ''Alapa" being the first, unaccompanied part of a "raga". Traditionally, in the "Alapa" the characteristics of the "raga" are first presented improvisationally, without strict metre, followed by a section in which the drums set in. The latter can have various forms. I have chosen a variation form called "Tarana". (Poul Rovsing Olsen 1960)