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Lec-Dem on North Indian Vocal Music

Prasad Upasani

: Combinations of notes with one form (


) of each swara. Must be

, i.e. have one form of all 7 notes. Examples. Mathematically 72 possible (Vyankatmukhi) of which 10 main ones are given names in Hindustani music:

  • o

    Bilaval, Kalyaan (Yaman), Khamaj, Kaafi, Bhairav, Marwa, Poorvi, Asavari,

Todi, Bhairavi

  • of different raags in same thaat (Marwa, Pooriya, Sohni), (Yaman, Kedar,


  • :

Raag may be roughly equated with the Western term mode or scale. There is a system of seven notes which are arranged in a means not unlike Western scales. Raag, in the Sanskrit dictionary, is defined as "the act of coloring or dyeing" (the mind in this context) and "any feeling or passion especially love, affection, sympathy, vehement desire, interest, joy, or delight". In music, these descriptions apply to the impressions of melodic sounds on both the artist(s) and listener(s). A raag consists of required and optional rules governing the melodic movements of notes within a performance.

The rules of a raag can be defined by:

  • The list of specific notes that can be used during playing of the raag

  • The manner in which the notes are used, i.e. specific ways of ornamenting notes or emphasizing/de-emphasizing them

  • Manner in which the scale is ascended or descended

  • Optional or required musical phrases, the way in which to reveal these phrases, and/or combine them

  • The octave or frequency range to emphasize

  • The relative pacing between the notes

  • The time of day and/or season when the raag may be performed so as to invoke the emotions of the raag for maximum impact on the mental and emotional state of the performer and listener

  • Finally each raag is supposed to convey a specific kind of emotion or mood.

Logic behind time of raags:


(Evening) &


  • o



  • raags with Komal Re – dawn & early evening

  • Kalyaan & others with Shuddha Re – mid-morning or mid-evening

  • Komal Ga Raags – late-morning or late-night

  • Malhaar, Hemant, etc.

: Bol,

( , : Tabla & Pakhawaj (used mostly in Dhrupad-Dhamar) c y c l e ) , , , :,



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