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Have you seen our Raagabase - A list of raags in Indian Classical Music yet ?

Raag is the backbone of Indian Classical Music. 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 five or six notes. An omission of a jarring or dissonant note, or an emphasis on a particular note, or the transition 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. Improvization 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 artist to visualize its essential personality during meditation prior to the performance.

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 that are not present in it are used, 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 : 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", the note which is not present in the raag. But still a vivadi swar 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 Teevra Madhyam in raag Bihag was considered a Vivadi but recently it has almost become a important aspect of Raag Bihag.

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. Here each note is lower than the preceding note.
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 Aaroha as well as the Avaroha of the raag. Audav has 5 notes. Shadav has 6 notes and Sampoorna has 7 notes. Thus there are 9 jaati based on Audav, Shadav, Sampoorna in Aaroha and Avaroha.(i.e. making combinations of either Audav or Shadav or Sampoorna in Aaroha and Audav 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 (as described in the previous article.

Samay : Each Raag has a specific time at which it an be performed. This is because specific those notes are supposed to be more effective at that particular time.

Ras : The emotion each raag invokes. Depending upon the notes used in the raag, it will invoke a ras.

Musical terms regarding a presentation of a raag in vocal style

Sthayee : 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.



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