What is a Raag?
Classical music is based on the system of scales
or modes known as raags. A raag can be broadly defined as a series of musical notes which are
systematically organised within a scale. Each raag has a certain set of notes which have to be
adhered to. The ascending order of musical notes
are called the 'Aaroh' and the descending order is known as 'Avrohi'. Raags can use
both flat or sharp notes and the number of notes within each scale can vary.
Each raag has a note which is most frequently used and this is known as the
'vaadi', the note which supports the 'vaadi' is known as the 'samvadi'. A Raag may be characterized by phrases of notes known as
which describe the movement known as 'chalan' of the raag.
The following five raags are considered to be popular with listeners of both
classical and light forms of music.
Aiman or known as Yaman. An early evening raag which comprises of seven notes.
Raag Aiman is
derived from the Kalyan Thath. Its vadi note is Ga and samvadi
is Ni. Its unique feature is the use of the sharp Ma note.
Malkauns belongs to the Bhairvin
thath and consists of five notes. Re and Pa notes are omitted from this
raga.Ga, Dha and Ni are Komal Swaras.
Its vadi is Ma and samvadi is Sa. The raag is performed during the night.
|Darbari. A very famous
raag, said to be created by the
celebrated Mian Tansen. Darbari belongs to the Asavari thath,
its Vadi is Re and Samvadi is Pa. Ga is weak in ascent and Dha is avoided in
the descent. It is sung mostly in the lower and middle octaves. Its
time of performance is late night usually during midnight. The speciality of the
raag is that Ga and Dha are performed with "Andolan", in a way which
seems that the notes are gliding.
Ni Sa Re Ga (flat) Re Sa Ma Pa Dha (flat) Ni (flat) Sa
Sa Dha (flat) Ni (flat) Pa Ma Pa Ga (flat) Ma Re Sa.
|Chalan. Re Sa re ni sa re dha ni pa Dha ni
Sa Re sa re ni sa re- ga-ga ma re- Sa ni Sa re- dha ni-pa-ni pa-dha-ni sa
Sa dha ni pa- ma pa- dha ni- re sa ga.
Click to hear Ustad Umeed
Ali Khan performing Darbari.
|Megh. One of the
oldest raags in Indian classical music. Megh belongs to the kafi thath and is associated with
the rainy season. Notes Ga and dha are omitted in this raag.
Its vadi is Sa and samvadi is Pa.
Raag Bhairvin is one of the most popular
ragas amongst the masses. It is an early morning raag but due to its immense popularity,
musicians perform it at any time of the day. It belongs to the Bhairvin thath and is more associated with light classical genres such as thumris
and ghazals. Many folk and film melodies are composed in this raag. The raag
uses flat notes but some musicians make use of sharp notes to add beauty.
Sa Re (flat), Ga (flat), Ma Pa Ga (flat), Ma Pa Dha (flat), Ni (flat), Sa.
Sa Ni (flat), Dha (flat), Pa Ma Ga (flat), Re (flat) Sa.
Ma or either Pa.
Dha Dha Pa Ma Ga Ma Ga Re Sa- Dha
Ni Sa Ga Ma Dha Dha Pa Ga Ma Ga Re Sa.
||Pakar. Ma- Ga- Sa Re Sa- Sa Re Sa-
Dha Ni Sa.
Click to hear Ustad Rais
Ahmed Khan performing Bhairvin on Sitar.
Recordings courtesy of the Classical Music
Research Cell Lahore, Radio Pakistan and Akhtar Raja.