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Raga Basics

Raga Basics

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Published by Aravind Raj
a collection of rags and basics of them
a collection of rags and basics of them

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Aravind Raj on Apr 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Raga 1Carnatic rāga 6Melakarta 9Sampurna raga 13Kharaharapriya 13Mayamalavagowla 15Shubhapantuvarali 17Kalyani (raga) 18Divyamani 22Hanumatodi 24Dharmavati 25Shanmukhapriya 27Natabhairavi 28Chalanata 30Charukesi 31Keeravani 32Gourimanohari 34Chakravakam (raga) 35
Article Sources and Contributors 37Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 38
Article Licenses
License 39
Indian MusicIndian classical music
Carnatic musicHindustani music
Core Concepts
Shruti · Swara · Gamaka · Rāga · Tāla
, literally "colour, hue" but also "beauty, melody"; also spelled
) isone of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas areassociated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga.Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs and ghazals sometimes use rāgas in their compositions.The term raga was defined by Joep Bor of the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music as "tonal framework forcomposition and improvisation."
Nazir Jairazbhoy, chairman of UCLA's department of ethnomusicology,characterized ragas as separated by scale, line of ascent and descent, transilience, emphasized notes and register, andintonation and ornaments.
The Sanskrit noun
is derived from the verbal root
"to colour, to dye". It is used in the literal sense of "theact of dyeing", and also "colour, hue, tint", especially "red colour" in the Sanskrit epics. A figurative sense "passion,love, desire, delight" is also found in the Mahabharata. The specialized sense of "loveliness, beauty", especially of voice or song, emerges in Classical Sanskrit, used by Kalidasa and in the Pancatantra.
The term first occurs in a technical context in the
(dated ca. 5th to 8th century
), where it is describedas "a combination of tones which, with beautiful illuminating graces, pleases the people in general".
) is a term for the "feminine" counterpart or "wife" to a rāga. The rāga-rāgini scheme fromabout the 14th century aligned 6 'male' rāgas with 6 'wives'.
Nature of rāga
Raga Shree recital to Krishna and Radha, Ragamala paintings, 19thcentury
 योऽसौ ध् वनिविशे षस् तुस् वरवर् णविभू षितः ।  रञ् जको जनचित् तानांस च राग उदाहृ तः ।।
"That which is a special
(tune), isbedecked with
(notes) and 
and iscolorful or delightful to the minds of the people,is said to be
- Matanga in the Brihaddeshi.The basic mode of reference in modern Hindustanipractice (known commonly as the
- basic -form) is a set which is equivalent to the Western Ionianmode (the major scale)
this is called
 Bilawal thaat 
in Hindustani music (the Carnatic analogue would be
). In both systems, the ground (ortonic), Shadja, Sa, and a pure fifth above, Pancham, Pa,are fixed and essentially sacrosanct tones. In theHindustani system, in a given seven-tone mode, thesecond, third, sixth, and seventh notes can be natural(
, lit. 'pure') or flat (
, 'soft') but neversharp, and the fourth note can be natural or sharp (
)but never flat, making up the twelve notes in theWestern equal tempered chromatic scale (Westernenharmonic pitch equivalences like, for example, A♯and B♭ do not apply; e.g. Re tivra may, to a Westernmusician appear enharmonic to Ga shuddha in that system, but in practice is not.) A Western-style C scale couldtherefore theoretically have the notes C, D♭, D, E♭, E, F, F♯, G, A♭, A, B♭, B.The Carnatic system has three versions
a lower, medium, and higher form
of all the notes except Sa, Ma andPa. Ma has two versions (lower and higher), while Sa and Pa are invariant. Rāgas can also specify microtonalchanges to this scale: a flatter second, a sharper seventh, and so forth. Tradition has it that the octave consists of (adivision into) 22 microtones ("shrutis"). Furthermore, individual performers treat pitches quite differently, and theprecise intonation of a given note depends on melodic context. There is no absolute pitch (such as the modernwestern standard A = 440 Hz); instead, each performance simply picks a ground note, which also serves as thedrone, and the other scale degrees follow relative to the ground note. The Carnatic system embarks from a muchdifferent shuddha (fundamental) scalar formation, that is,
here is the lowest-pitched swara.By comparison, using the common tonic "C" for a western musician:

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