Hesham A Syed

November 6, 2009

Indo-Pak Classic Music – a few detail of Raag etc

Filed under: English Articles,Global — Hesham A Syed @ 8:08 am

Indo – Pak Classic Music – a few detail of Raag etc 

Indian Classic Music.


1. Introduction

The theory and practice of Indian music are the logical result of a consistent development, a distinctive process, which plays an integral part in Indian history and culture.

One should not listen to Indian music and judge it in terms of Western music or any other musical form. It would be like judging Beethoven or Brahms in terms of raag (the basis of Indian melody) and Taal (the basis of Indian rhythm). A listener is requested to forget counterpoint, harmony, and mixed tone colours for a moment and to relax into the rhythmic and melodic patterns.

The totally diverse factor from the western classical music is that the music is not prewritten or pre-rehersed.The artist might have a few raags in mind that he/she would decide to present but that too can change on fermaish from the audience (the audience’s preference of the raag they would like to listen to).


2. Saptak (scale)

The table below explains the concept of the scale for Indian classical Music.Saptak can start from any note as Sa(The first note ).

In the table below shows the different scales that can be used. Saphed means White and Kali means Black . The next part are equivalent numbers in Hindi).

Indian name Of the Scale Western Scale
Saphed Ek (White One) C
Kali Ek (Black One) C Sharp
Saphed Don (White two) D
Kali Don (Black two) DSharp
Saphed Teen(White Three) E
Saphed Chaar(White Four) F
Kali Teen (Black Three) F Sharp
Saphed Pach(White Five) G
Kali Chaar (Black Four) G Sharp
Saphed Chhe (White Six) A
Kali paach (Black Five) A Sharp
Saphed Saat (White 7) B

To view the image of the saptak as on the piano/harmonium, click here.

Some  Terms regarding the Swar (Notes )

Shudhha, Achal, Komal, and Teevra Swar

Achala Swar : The notes Sa and Pa are fixed on the scale .They are referred to as Achal swara (immovable).

Vikrut Swar :The other notes are Vikrut (Movable)

Komal Swar : In Vikrut swaras the notes Re, Ga , Dha, Ni can be moved below there shuddha place on the scale. They are called komal (Soft or Flat). These are shown by a small horizontal line below the note.

Teevra Swar : Only one swar Ma can become vikrut by going one note above the shuddha Ma. It is called teevra (Sharp). It is shown by a small vertical line above the note.

Saptak (Register)

In Indian Classical music 3 saptaks (Octaves) are usually utilized.

Saptak : When the set of seven notes is played in the order it is called a Saptak (i.e. Sa , Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni)

Maddhya Saptak : The normal tone of human voice, which is neither high nor low. It is called  Maddhya Saptak (Middle Octave). This has got no symbol in the notation system

Taar Saptak : The one higher than Maddhya Saptak is Taar saptak (High). The notes are high and sharp.This shown by a dot above the note. Two dots above the note imply a note of an octave higher than the Taar Saptak i.e. Ati Taar Saptak.

Mandra Saptak :The one below the Maddhya Saptak is called Mandra saptak(Low). Notes of this octave are sung or played in a low deep tone. This comprises of the saptak which is below the lower Sa of the Maddhya Saptak. Notes of this saptak are indicated by a dot below.

It’s possible in case of stringed instruments such as Sitar to go to the octave lower than the Mandra saptak. It’s known as the Ati Mandra Saptak. The notes of this saptak are indicated by two dots below.

In the saptak (scale) the Sa gets repeated after the Ni. The Frequency of the second Sa is twice the frequency of the first Sa. The second Sa is termed as Taar Shadja. From this Taar Shadja the same saptak gets repeated (But this time at twice the frequency of the respective swar. It’s then called taar Saptak.)

The image below explains the concept of Saptak,  how the Saptak can be built from  any note as a Sa and The Indian notes of Sa , RE, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni on the piano/ Harmonium.



3. The Drone

Since the Indian Classical music is modal music based on relations between a fixed sound, the tonic and the successive notes. The tonic needs to be heard continuously.The sustained accompaniment of the tonic allows the performer to check his/ her voice to avoid dissonance.This constant tonic is provided by the instrument Taanpura . It has four or sometimes 5/6 strings . The drone is accomplished (explained for a four string taanpura) by playing

      .    .                       .     .
Pa, Sa, Sa, Sa or Ma, Sa, Sa, Sa ( If a particular raag does not include Pa but has Ma)

Some times it is set to

         .    .                     .    .     
Dha Sa, Sa, Sa or Ni, Sa, Sa, Sa if the raag has prominence of Dha or Ni.


4. Thaat (Classification of Raags)

The set of seven notes or scale which can produce a raag is called a thaat.The system of classification for the raags in different groups. Each group is called a thaat.There are again several systems of classification of the raag. Presently in Hindustani Classical Music the 10 thaat classification of raags is prevalent.

There are certain rules for these Thats or scales.

1. A Thaat must have seven notes out of the twelve notes [Seven Shuddha, Four komal (Re, Ga, Dha , Ni), one teevra (Ma) ], placed in an ascending order. Both the forms of the notes can be used.

2. Thaat  has only an Aaroha.

3. Thaats are not sung but the raags produced from the Thaats are sung.

4. Thaats are named after the popular raag of that Thaat. For example Bhairavi is a popular raag and the thaat of the raag Bhairavi is named after the raag.

Following 10 Thaats are widely accepted now.
( Bhatkhande system)

Name of Thaat Swar Komal(Flat)/ Teevra(Sharp)
Bilaval Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni All shuddha swar
Khamaj Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni Ni Komal
Kalyan                       |      
Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni  
Ma Teevra
Bhairav Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni Re, Dha Komal
Kaafi Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni Ga, Ni Komal
Maarvaa                      |      
Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni
Re Komal , Ma Teevra
Asaavaree Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni Ga, Dha, Ni Komal
Poorvi                       |      
Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni
Ma teevra, Re, Dha Komal
Todi                      |        
Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni
Ma teevra, Re, ,Ga, Dha Komal
Bhairavi Sa, Re , Ga, Ma, Pa. Dha, Ni Re, Ga, Dha, Ni  Komal





5. Raag In it’s today’s form

In today’s Indian classical music Raag is the backbone. The word raag comes from Sanskrit word “Ranj” which means to delight to make happy and to satisfy. Here it’s necessary to clarify that not all raags project a happy mood. The raag can produce various moods such as Shant (serenity), Shrungaar (erotic), Bhakti (devotion to God), Veer (gallantry, bravery, aggressive)

Raag is neither a scale, nor a mode. It is, however, a scientific, precise, subtle, and aesthetic melodic form with its own peculiar ascending and descending movement which consists of either a full octave, or a series of six or five notes. An omission of a jarring or dissonant note, or an emphasis on a particular note, or the slide from one note to another, and the use of microtones along with other subtleties, distinguish one raag from the other.

Raag has its own principal mood such as tranquillity, devotion, eroticism, loneliness, pathos, heroism, etc. Each raag is associated, according to its mood, with a particular time of the day, night or a season. Improvisation is an essential feature of Indian music, depending upon the imagination and the creativity of an artist; a great artist can communicate and instill in his listener the mood of the raag.

Each melodic structure of raag has something akin to a distinct personality subject to a prevailing mood. Early Indian writers on music, carried this idea further and endowed the raags with the status of minor divinities, with names derived from various sources, often indicating the origin or associations of the individual raags. In theoretical works on music each raag was described in a short verse formula, which enabled the artiest to visualize its essential personality during meditation prior to the performance.

Some Terms Regarding the Raag

There are 3 Raag Bhed (Types of Raag )

1> Shuddha Raag : The raag in which even if any notes  that are not present in it are used, it’s nature and form does not change.

2> Chhayalag Raag : The raag in which if any notes are taken that are not present in it, it’s nature and form changes.

3> Sankeerna raag :The raag in which there is a combination of two or more raags.

Terms describing the properties of a Raag

Vaadi ,Samvadi,  Anuvaadi and Vivadi swar

Vaadi : The most prominent note of the raag which gets emphasized in the raag and used very often.

Samvaadi : The second most important note of the raag. It used lesser than the vaadi but more than the other notes of the raag. This is the fourth or fifth note from the Vaadi.

Anuvaadi : The other notes of the raag (other than Vaadi and Samvaadi)

Vivadi : The meaning of vivadi is “one which produces dissonance”.Which is not present in the raag. But still a vivadi swara is used in a raag by able singers  in such a way that it enhances the beauty of the raag. This is done very rarely.
For example some times in the raag “Yaman” Shuddha Madhyam is used in between two Gandhar (Ga)

Aaroha : Ascend of the notes. Here each note is higher than the preceding note.
Example : Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni   

Avaroha : Descend of the notes Example : Ni, Dha, Pa, Ma, Ga, Re, Sa

Pakad : A small group of notes which describe the unique features of the raag.

Jaati : Gives the number of notes in Aaroh as well as the Avaroha of the raag. Odav has 5 notes. Shadav has 6 notes and Sampoorna has 7 notes. Thus there are 9 jaati based on Odav, Shadav, Sampoorna in Aaroha and Avaroha.(i.e. making combinations of either odav or shadav or sampoorna in aaroha and odav or shadav or sampoorna in avaroha.

Thaat : The system of classification for the raags in different groups. The set of seven notes or scale which can produce a raag. Presently in Hindustani Classical Music 10 thaat classification of raags have been adopted. For more information on Thaat click here

Samay : Each Raag has a specific time at which it an be performed. This is so as those notes are supposed to be more effective at that particular time. For an image of samay chakra (time cycle) click here.

Ras : The emotion each raag invokes. The notes the raag has influence the Ras the raag will invoke.

Musical terms regarding a presentation of a raag  in vocal style

Sthaaee : The first part of the composition. Mainly develops in the the lower and the middle octave.

Antaraa : Second part of the composition. Develops in the middle or higher note.

Mukhadaa: The first line of the composition.


The image below shows the time at which a raag of aach thaat is sung.






6. Alaap

The gradual exposition of Raag emphasizing Vaadi, Samvaadi and other salient features of the raag in a slow tempo is known as Alaap.

The word alaap means a dialog  or conversation. Alaap is a dialog  between the musician and the raag. Alaap reflects the depth, the temperament, creativity and training of the musician.

In alaap, the musician improvises each note gradually. Beginning with the lower octave and in a slow tempo and techniques like kana swar and meend etc.The alaap is sung in the beginning of the raag at the time of a performance.This is also known as the Vistaar. When the musician starts rendering a Bada Khayal/ Chotaa Khayaal (song ) the tablaa or any other percussion instrument joins. Aalaap is used again with the composition, this time with the rhythm as well. This alaap is slightly faster and and rhythmic.

Some times the words of the song are also improvised with notes. This is known as Bol Alaap.

Alaap  is usually sung in Aakaar i.e. without pronouncing any syllables only using the sound “aa” of the vowel. Sometimes syllables like teri, Nom, Tom are also used for singing the alaap.


7. Taan

To improvise and to expand weaving together the notes in a fast tempo is a taan. Taans are very technical and show the training, practice and dexterity in weaving complicated patterns of the notes with variations in the rhythm. Taans also are sung in Akaar. Speed is an important factor of the taan.

Some important types of the taan

Bol Taan : Taan can also be sung by utilizing the words of the Cheez (Composition). This is a difficult type of a taan as in this correct pronunciation, the beauty of the words, meaning of the composition, every thing has to be taken in to consideration.

Shuddha/ Sapat (Straight )Taan : The notes are placed in an order in one or more octaves.

Koot Taan : The notes do not remain in order. It’s complicated in nature.

Mishra Taan : Combination of the above two taans.

Gamak Taan : Gamak is a technique by which a force is added to notes and each note is repeated atleast twice.

Also there are many other types of taan called Ladant taan, zatkaa taan Gitkari taan, Jabde ki taan, Sarok Taan, Halak Taan, Palat taan

Although the terms can be explained the raag is a tonal complex. The listener has to listen to several pieces of the raag in order to recognize the raag. Each raag is presented differently depending upon the Gharana of the artist, the artist’s own nature, and his/her mood at that time, also on the form he/she chooses to perform the raag in i.e. whether it’s a khayal, a Dhrupad, Thummri, Bhajan etc.
The presentation is also different in case of vocal and instrumental music. This is why a Indian Classical Music can only be learnt properly by listening and repetition.



8. The Raag Time Cycle

In Hindustani classical music, each raag is rendered only at a specific time. The time of the raag depends on the vaadi swar and the anuvadi swars . This is so as each raag with it’s particular swar is more effective if performed at a particular time. It is supposed to enhance the ras (mood) of the raag that the artiste is responsible for evoking.

But,some raags are seasonal in nature. For example raags that belong to the Malhar category can be sung at any time during the mansoon season. The traditional associations with respect to the season are – Monsoon – Raag Megh, Autumn – Raag Bhairav, Winter – Raag Malkouns, Spring – Raag Hindol.

For an image of Raag time cycle (Raag Samay Chakra)
click here
The 24 hours of a day are divided into 2 parts 
1> From 12 P. M. to 12 A.M.–This is called Poorva Bhaag and raags sung in this period are called poorva raags.
2> From 12 A.M. to 12 P.M.–This is called Uttar Bhaag and the raags in this period are called uttar raags.
The part of the saptak(octave) from Sa to Ma (sa re ga ma ) is called poorvang (earlier part) of a raag and from Ma to taar saptak Sa (pa dha ni sa) is called uttarang (later part) of the raag.

Poorvang Vaadi raag
: The raags in which the vaadi swar lies in the poorvang are called poorvang vaadi raag. These raags are rendered in the poorva bhag of the day i.e. 12 A. M. to 12 P.M.

Uttarang Vaadi raag
: The raags in which the vaadi swar lies in the poorvang are called poorvang vaadi raag. These raags are sung in the poorva bhaag of the day i.e. 12 P. M. to 12 A.M.
So if we know a vaadi swar of the raag we can estimate the time the raag will be rendered.
The raags in Hindustani classical music are divided in to 3 categories taking into account their swar (notes)–whether komal or teevra and samay(time)

1 : Raags with Komal Re and Komal Dha :

The sandhi prakaash  (dawn and dusk time) raag:
These again falls into 2 categories

a : pratah kaalin sandhi prakaash raag : raags sung at dawn
b: saayam  kaalin sandhi prakaash raag : raags sung at dusk

In sandhiprakaash raags ma plays very important role.
Most of pratah kaalin sandhi prakaash raags (dawn time) take the shuddha ma
Ex . raag Bhairav
Most of the sayam kaalin sanhdi prakaash raags(dusk time) take  teevra ma.
Ex : raag Maarva
Also, in most of the sandhiprakaash raags, Re is komal and Ga, Ni are shuddha. Dha can be komal or shuddha.

2 : Raags with shuddha re and shuddha dha:

The time at which these raags are rendered is after the sanhdi prakaash raags. They belong  mainly to Kalyan, Bilaval, Khamaaj thaat.
After the pratah kaalin sandhiprakaash raags the influence of shuddha Re and shuddha Dha starts rising. Hence the raags of this category are rendered from morning 7.00 to morning 10.00 and from evening 7.00 to evening 10.00
In this category Ga is essentially shuddha.
In the morning 7.00 to 10.00 category shuddha ma is prominent Ex.: Bilaval, Deskaar, Todi
In evening 7.00 to 10.00 category teevra ma is prominent Ex.: Yaman, Shuddha Kalyan, Bhoopali

3 : Raags with komal Ga and Komal Ni :

These raags are sung after the shuddha Re and shuddha Dha raags. They are sung from morning 10.00 to afternoon 4.00 eg. : Aasaavari, Jounpoori and night 10.00 to dawn 4.00 eg. : Bageshree, Jayjayvanti, Malkouns
In these raags Ga will surely be komal , the Re and Dha can be shuddha or komal.

Importance of Ma (Maddhyam) with regard to the time of the raag.

Normally , in the morning time raags shuddha Ma is prominent. In the raags with Komal Re and Komal Dha if shuddha Maddhyam is prominent then they are called Pratah Kaalin Sandhi Prakash raag.
In the evening raags teevra Madhyam is prominent. Thus in the evening with the raags such as Poorvi, Shree, Multaani, teevra Maddhyam comes into use which goes on till the 2nd prahar of the night. At that time with raags such as Bihaag, shuddha Madhyam starts getting prominence.

In the Pratah Kaleen Sandhi Prakash Raag the raags with the shuddha Madhyam ( Raag – Bhairav, Kalingada)  come first followed by raags with both the Maddhyam although Shuddha Maddhyam is prominent. (raag – Ramkali, Lalit)

After this is the time to sing raags with Shuddha Re and Shuddha Dha.. In these also Shuddha Maddhyam is prominent.( Raag Bilaval)

Then comes the time for Komal Gandhar raags. In this both the maddhyams are used. In some of them shuddha Maddhyam assumes prominence whereas in others teevra Maddhyam assumes prominence.


The image below shows the time at which a raag of aach thaat is sung.





9. Difference between Raag and a Thaat

1.      Thaats or scales  are produced from 12 swar -Shuddha, Komal, Teevra. Raags belong to the thaats.
2 .There must be seven notes in a thaat The raag must have minimum five notes.
3. In the thaat the seven notes have to be in order but in the raag the notes can be in any order.
4. Thaat has only Aaroha (Ascending notes). The raag must have Aaroha (ascending notes) as well as the Avaroha (descending notes).
5. It is not necessary for a thaat to be melodious as the thaats are not sung but the raag has to be melodious.
6. Thaats do not express a sentiment. A raag must express a mood.
7. Thaats do not have a Vaadi or Samvaadi. A raag has to have a Vaadi and a Samvaadi.
8. Thaats are named after a popular raag belonging to that Thaat.





10. Musical terms related to
ornamental melodic presentation

To make the raag rendering more beautiful and varied following ornamental patterns are used.

Alankar : Alankar literally means ornaments or adorations. Specific melodic presentation in succession in which a pattern is followed is called Alankar. For example : “SaReGa, ReGa Ma, GaMaPa, MaPaDha, PaDhaNi “. This phrase is a part of an alankar in which three notes in succession are used at each time.

Gamak: These are many ways of ornamenting the notes. In the ancient books fifteen types of gamaks are found. They are Kampita – shake, Andolita – swing, Aaghaat- strike, Valit – vipple, Tribhinna – threefold, Gumphita – threaded, Plavitaa – flowing, Mishrit – mixed, Kurula – spiral , Sphurita- pulsating, Tirip – flurry, Leen – absorbing, Mudrita – imprint, Ullhasit – happy, Naamita – obeisance.

Many of these gamaks are still in use in Karnatak music under different names. In the North Indian music of today vibrating the notes with force is now called Gamaka. This is an important technique in Dhrupad and often in Bada Khayal singing.. Many of the gamaks are used in Hindustani Classical music under different names and identities.

Kan or Sparsh Swar : The grace notes make the main notes sound sweeter. Grace notes are written slightly above the main note.

Murki : It’s a short taan of three or four notes.It’s sung very fast.

Khatkaa: Two or more notes sung with a jerk.

Meend : Stretching or lengthening the sound from one note to another. This technique maintains the continuity of the sound. Meend  brings a continuos flow, softness and continuity


11.Raag and Ras (emotion)

Each raag invokes a certain mood. For instance the raag Darbaari Kanada is regal and dignified and majestic in it’s appearance.. The melodies of this raag tend to be sung in the lower register, tempo is slow and the melodic phrases are complex.

All these effects can be explained by the ancient theory of Ras and Bhav.The Ras can be said as the experience and the Bhav the expression.

In the Bharat Natya Shastra eight sentiments are mentioned.
Shringaar (romantic/erotic), Veer (heroic),  Hassya (comic),  Karuna (pathos), Roudra (wrathful), Bhayanak (terrifying), Bibhatsa (odious ), Adbhut (wondrous). Later on, another ras Shant (peaceful, calm)was added.

It also mentions the different notes to produce different moods such as

Ma -humorous, Pa-Erotic, Sa – Heroic, Re – wrathful and so on.


12.The rules regarding formation of a Raag

1>    The raag must belong to a thaat
2> It must be melodic in nature.
3> It comprises of a minimum five notes.
4> A raag must have Aaroh as well as Avaroh
5> Each raag has the note Sa present in it.
6>Each raag has either Ma and/or Pa. Both these notes together can not be absent from a raag.
7> Two forms of the same note such as Shuddha Ga and Komal Ga cannot follow each other in succession.(But there are exceptions to this rule. For example Raag Lalit takes Shuddha Ma and Teevra Ma one after the other.



13.The sources of similarity and

dissimilarity between the raag :


Some times some raags sound almost similar but still there exists a little difference in them. These differences can be seen to be as follows :

1 Similar Thaat (scale) and melodic configuration :

Some times a raag is only separated from the other by means of stressing a particular note in one of them. For example the only difference between raag Hameer and raag Hameer Kalyaan is there is emphasis on shuddha Ni in Hamir Kalyan.

2 Similar melodic configuration but different Thaat

In some raags the melodic structure the mood they present is almost the same but one or two notes vary in their format i.e. are Komal or shuddha or teevra. For example in Aasaavari and Komal Rishabh Aasaavari only difference is the later uses Komal Re instead of Shuddha re. Hence the raags are considered totally different.

3 Identical Thaat (scale )but different melodic configuration

These raags are a challenge to the performer. As the scale remains the same and they are separated on the basis of the melodic configuration only. There are subtle differences made in the form of a meend, use of a certain musical phrase, emphasis on certain notes, etc. For example Raag Goud Saarang and Raag Chhayanut.

4. Partial similarity :

Here the chances of confusion are almost nill. This is the case of those raag that are derived from two different raag.Where one tetra chord is derived from one raag and the next from some other major raag. For example raag Ahir Bhairav is derived from Bhairav a major raag and Kafi . The resemblance to Kafi is limited to the lower tetrachord (poorvanga) only.

Alpatva (Insignificance) and Bahutva (Predominance)

Bahutva : This is shown in two ways

1 By  singing the note repeatedly which is termed as abbhyaas, and 

2 By singing the note for a longer time.This is called Aalanghan (lit. grasping)

Bahutva is related to Vaadi and Samvaadi of araag as well as other notes of the raag which are prominent in the presentation of that raag.

Alpatva : This is again done in two ways.

1 Anabbhyaas :  lack of repetition

2: Langhan : Only briefly touching the note.

For example in raag Bihaag The notes Ga and Ni are treated with alpatva as they are less emphasized.

Avirbhaav and Tirobhaav

As the musician employs different note combination in the development of a raag, there is an ever present danger that the audience may feel snatches of another raag.which uses similar note combinations.

When the raag being presented is clearly defined it’s called as Aavirbhaav.

On the other hand when the raag is deliberately and cleverly concealed it’s called as Tirobhav. This prevarication is used as an artistic devise.

This process of Avirbhaav and Tirobhaav, an almost sensual game of creating confusion and resolving it by clear statement of the raag makes the raag stand out more luminously.

The Jod Raag (Compound raag)

The basic principles in combining two raag is the constituent raags should complement each other. The emotional effect of  combining them should be pleasing and not emotionally disturbin, and not only for intellectual curiosity. There are at least two forms of Jod raag .

1 One raag is given predominance than the other. For example in raag Basant Bahaar Basant is considered the main raag to which raag Bahaar is combined.

2 Another way of combining is to use the notes of one raag and Chalan (melodic movement ) of the other. For instance in raag Megh Malhar, the notes belonging to Raag Saarang are used and the raag is sung in the manner employed by the Malhaar group.

There are three ways these raags are created

1. Combining the Aaroha of one raag and the avaroha of another.
2. To have each tetrachord composed of notes of different raag (either shuddha or Vikrit)
3. Use phrases from two or more raags and alternate between them.


14.Origin of raag names
In respect of certain raags we see the names of Hindu deities such as Kedaar, Bhairav, Gouri, Durga.

Some raags such as Ahiri, Asaavari, Gurjari indicate the link to certain tribes having similar names and might have risen out of tribal melodies.

Some names refer to certain places. For example Malwa, Jounpuri, Pahari. These raags may have had their origins in the folk tunes of those regions.

The fourth group bear the names of their creators. Raags such as Miya ki Malhar , Miya ki Todi are attributed to Miya Taansen. Whereas the Raag Bilaskhani Todi is said to have been created by his son Bilaskhan. The raag Darbaari Kanada is supposed to been derived from the Karnatic version of Kanada.

Besides the old raags few new raags have also been formed 




15.The general schema of Raag Presentation


The following is the sequence in which various components of a raag are presented in a mehefil (concert)

Alternative 1

1 Alaap

a) Vilambit alaap presented in sections from low notes to high
b) Maddhya alaap divided in to similar sections.
c) Drut alaap divided in to similar sections

2. Composition set to taal

a> Sthaayi
b> Antaraa

3. Bol Baant

4. Repetition of the full composition once.

Alternative 2

1. Avachar : A brief outline of the raag usually in aakaar.

.Bandish : a) Sthaayi b) Antaraa

3 Alaap : in the form of badhat using the words of the bandish and broken in to sections .
a) Using the bols of the sthaayi
b) Using the bols of the antaraa.
(After each section the mukhada is repeated)
4. Bol Baant and Layakaari
5. Taans
6. End with tihai
( repeating part of the cheez thrice and coming to the sum)



16.The Notation System


There exist two notation systems. One developed by Pt. Paluskar which is a little more elaborate and for the same reason intricate and difficult to use.

Here we will be reviewing the other system which was developed by Pt. Bhatkhande. This is  more easy to use. Throughout the site, we will be following this system of notation.

Shuddha Swar(Normal Notes)- No symbol for shuddha swar.
Example — Sa, Re, Ga, Ma

Komal Swar( Flat Notes) — Shown by a small horizontal line underneath.
Example — Re, Ga, Dha, Ni,

Teevra Swar(Sharp Notes) — That is Ma shown by a small vertical line on the top.

Mandra Saptak Swar (Lower Octave Note) — Shown by a dot below.
Example Ni, Dha, Pa, Ma
              .    .      .   .

Maddhya Saptak — Has no sign.  
example – Pa, Ma

Taar Saptak Swar (Higher Octave Note) — Shown by a dot above.
Example Sa


A dash – (hifen)– Used for lengthening the note. One dash corresponds to one beat when the playing or singing with the taal.

Avagraha — Shown by “S ” . It’s used for having pauses in the words.
Example – Go SSS vinda S

Chandra — Shown by half moon. Any number of notes can be inside the half moon to indicate that they are to be rendered in 1 beat.
Example — SaReGaMa  

Kan Swar (Grace Note) — Writen above the note to the left top in small letter size.

Meend — Continuing sound from one note to the other.

                               Ma Ni     

Notes in bracket –Equal to a short phrase of three or four. It’s sung very fast so that the notes blend and sound as one note. The order for these notes is one note after -the note in bracket-the note after-the note in bracket.
Example– (Sa)- ReSaNiiSa

Symbols related to rhythm

Division of beats is marked by a bar between the beats
Khand.–Each interval between the bars is called khand.
Sum (The first beat)– Shown by a cross. below the beat.
Khali – Usually the beat in the middle of the taal. Marked by 0 below the beat
Taali – Starting of each Khand other than Sum and Khaali is shown by Taali. Sum is taken as the first taali. The next taalis are numbered and shown hence from 2 onwards.
Example –The name of the taal below is Tritaal. The words are called Bol of the taal. For, when played on the Tablaa , each bol actually sounds as it is pronounced.

Dha Dhin Dhin Dha | Dha Dhin  Dhin  Dha
X                              2                                        

Dha  Tin  Tin  Ta |Ta    Dhin  Dhin  Dha| 
0                           3

Example of a composition with a notation and with the taal (This particular composition is set to Taal Tritaal)
Sa Ma Ga  – |Ma Ga Ma Pa    | –   – Ga  Ma  |Sa   Dha Ni Pa|                
(Notation of the words of composition)
gi   ri   dha S | ri     S   S    Mo | Ri  S    S   raa | kho  laa S    j |                 
(words of composition)

X                   2                          0                     3                                      (Indications of the Taal)




17. Fourty Principles of Hindustaani Classical Music
(According to Pt. Bhatkhande)


The principles of Indian classical music are well explained by these 40 principles put together by Pandit Bhatkhande.

1>    The Shuddha Saptak (The basic scale) is taken as Bilaval That.
2>. All the raags are divided based on the number of notes in the Aaroha and Avaroha as odav
( Raag of 5 Notes), Shadav (raag of 6 notes), Sampoorna (Raag of 7 notes)
3>. A raag cannot have less than 5 or more than 7 notes (out of 12 notes including Komal and teevra)
4>. The combination of Odav, Shadav, Sampoorna in the aaroha or aavaroha make 9 types of raag based on the number of notes in it.
5.> Each raag is based on a thaat, and has Aaroh, Avaroh, Vaadi, Samvaadi, samay, ras, thaat.
6>. A samvaadi is always fourth or fifth from the vaadi. If vaadi is in the poorvanga samvaadi will be in the uttarang and vice versa.
7>. By changing the vaadi swar a morning raag can be changed into an evening raag.
8>. To enhance the beauty of the raag a vivaadi note can be used very rarely.
9>. Each raag has a vaadi. The raag is identified as a poorva raag or uttar raag based on the vaadi  note.
10>.Raags can be classified into 3 categories :   
a) Raag with Komal Re, Komal Dha    
b) Raags with Shuddha Re, Shuddha Dha   
c) Raags with Komal Ga, Komal Ni.. Normally in the Pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raag, Re and Dha are never absent. And in Sayam kaalin sandhi prakash raag Ga and Ni are normally not absent.
11>. Ma indicates whether the Raag will be sung at day time or at night.
12>. The raags with Komal Ga ,Ni are performed at afternoon or at mid night.
13>. After the Sandhiprakaash raag mainly raags with Re, Ma, Dha, Ni shuddha are performed.
14. Sa, Ma, Pa are the important notes in raags of 3 rd prahar of day and the night.
15. Teevra Ma is found mainly in Raags of the night. It’s found rarely in the day time raags.
16. The vaadi is one of the notes– Sa, Ma, Pa, in raags that can be sung at all the times.
17. Ma, and Pa can not be simultaneously absent from a raag.
18. Each raag must consist of the note Sa.
19. No two forms of the same note are taken one after the other in a raag. There are exceptions such as Raag Lalit  though, to this rule.
20. The raag’s beauty is enhanced more if sung at the designated time .
21. Teevra Ma and Komal Ni come together very few times.
22. The raags in which both the Ma appear are similar in nature. The aaroha is different but the avaroha is quite similar.
23.In the raags sung at 1st prahar of the night, and which have both the Ma, Shuddha Ma is taken in both aaroha as well as the avaroh but Teevra Ma is taken mainly in aaroh.
24. In raags of 1st prahar of the night aarohi Ni and Avarohi Ga are Vakra. Ni in the avaroha is not emphasized.
25. In Indian classical music as opposed to the Karnatak classical music, the swar is more important than the Taal.
26. The poorv raag show their special characteristics in the aaroha , where as the uttar raag show their special characteristics in the avaroh.
27. Each thaat can produce poorva and uttar raags.
28. In the raags of the serious, calm nature Sa , Ma , Pa seem to have a prominent place.They are more effective in the Mandra Saptak. Whereas in the raags of  light mood, this is not found to be so.
29. While entering from one thaat into another thaat, Para Mel Praveshak raags (raags on the border of the two thaats) are rendered.
30. The sequence normally followed is sandhi Prakash Raag then raags with Re Dha shuddha then the raags with Ga , Ni  komal.
31.  Sandhi Prakash Raag invoke Karun , Shant ras. The raags with Re, Ga , Dha shuddha invoke Shrungaar and Hassya ras. The raags with Komal Ga, Ni invoke Veer, Roudra Ras.
32.The raags which have Komal Ni normally have Shuddha Ni in the aaroha. For example Kaphi and Khamaj.
33. When two to four notes are together they cannot be called a raag . They can at best be called a taan.
34. In raag notes can be prominent , or insignificant (insignificant does not mean absent though).
35. After twelve at night and twelve in the morning Sa, Ma, Pa start assuming importance gradually.
36. In the raags sung in the afternoon,Aaroha either does not consist of Re and Dha or they are insignificant. In these Raags Ga and Ni really shine with full glory.
37. The raags with Sa, ma, Pa as Vaadi are of serious nature.
38. In the dawn time raags Komal Re and Komal Dha are predominant and dusk time raags have the prominence of Shuddha Dha and Shuddha Ni.
39. The combination NiSa ReGa immediately establishes Dawn – Dusk time raag.
40. Poorva raags are more elaborate in the aaroha and uttar raags are more elaborate in the avaroh.                                                                                                                                                              













































  1. it is wonderful to have the full theory at a glance.

    It is very much matter of thanks and congratulation.

    Sahitya Chaturvedi, Dubai UAE

    Comment by SAHITYA — January 14, 2010 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  2. Thanks – you may also add more to it on Music or on any subject of value.
    best wishes – hesham syed

    Comment by heshamsyed — January 16, 2010 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  3. Excellent presentation of North Indian classical music theory!

    Comment by Shanut Shah — March 20, 2011 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

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