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Raags of Indian MusicĀ 

Tansen Sangeet Mahavidyalaya
06/12/2016 0 1


In Indian Classical Music there are two related, but distinct, traditions. The North Indian style is known as Hindustani, while the South Indian is referred to as Carnatic.

The basic scale of Hindustani music is called SARGAM (from SAREGAMA first 4 Notes of the seven Notes) or Saptak (from the 7 Notes). Unlike the western scale, the intervals between consecutive notes are not equal. They can be varied slightly to suit the particular raag which is being performed. The names of the notes are as under:

SA       RE      GA      MA      PA       DHA   NI

Though there are six intervals between them only five are named and used. They are as under:

SA Komal RE RE Komal GA GA MA Tivra MA PA Komal DHA DHA Komal NI NI


Raag is the foundation of melody in music. Raag in Sanskrit means emotion or passion or Ras or Bhav (In India a literary or musical composition is supposed to produce one of the nine Rasas which are: Love (Shringar), Humour (Hasya), Pathos (Karuna), Anger (Rudra), Heroism (Vir), Terror (Bhayanaka), Disgust (Veebhatsa) and Wonder (Abdhuta)). So, a raag in music, means the effect, or intended effect, of the particular raag on the listener (and performer). Raag is a combination of notes, usually from five to eight, with rules of playing them, with freedom to explore, and creating a particular mood. Raags are, as mentioned above, supposed to evoke love, devotion, gallantry, or wonder etc. Raags are usually sung during a particular time period of day, for example, morning, day, evening and night etc. Some Ragas are related to seasons, and then they can be sung at any time.

Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of raags, but only a few hundred are documented, and designated by specific names. Of these, only a small percentage is usually performed.


Many raags are developed forms of a family of regional folk melodies while others have been newly created by the musicians. Later on other Raags were created by the combination of one or more existing raags. The names of some established raags have changed with time and the characteristics/ definitions of raags also are not as rigid as generally believed. All the raags are supposed to have been derived from their thaats. Every raag has a fixed number of komal (soft) or teevra (sharp) notes from which the thaat can be recognized.


Raags are placed in three categories: (a) Odava or pentatonic, a composition of five notes, (b) Shadava or hexatonic, a composition of six notes and (c) Sampoornaor heptatonic, a composition of seven notes,

Every Raag must have at least five notes, starting at Sa, one principal note, a second important note and a few helping notes. The principal note, "King" is the note on which the raag is built. It is emphasized in various ways, such as stopping for some time on the note, or stressing it. The second important note or the "Queen" corresponds to the "King" as the fourth or fifth note in relation to it. The ascent and descent of the notes in every raag is very important. Some raaga in the same scale differ in ascent and descent. The speed of a raag is divided into three parts: Vilambit (slow), Madhya (Medium) and Drut (fast).

Raags are also classified under six principal raags -- Hindol, Deepak, Megh, Shreeand Maulkauns. Other raags are derived from these six raags. The first derivatives of the raags are called raginis, and each of the six raags has five raginis under them.

Alap: Alap is the first movement of the Raag. It is a slow, serene movement acting as an invocation and it gradually develops the Raag.

Jor: Jor begins with the added element of rhythm which, combining with the weaving of innumerable melodic patterns, gradually gains in tempo and brings the raag to the final movement.

Jhala: Jhala is the final movement and climax.


  • Adana
  • Ahir Bhairav
  • Asavari
  • Bageshri
  • Bahar
  • Bairagi Bhairav
  • Basant
  • Basant Mukhari
  • Bhairav
  • Bhairavi
  • Bhankar
  • Bhatiyar
  • Bhimpalasi
  • Bhinna Shadja
  • Bhoopal Todi
  • Bhoopali
  • Bihag
  • Bilaskhani Todi
  • Bilawal
  • Chandani Kedar
  • Chandrakauns
  • Charukeshi
  • Chhayanat
  • Darbari
  • Desh
  • Deshkar
  • Desi
  • Dhani
  • Durga
  • Gara
  • Gaud Malhar
  • Gaud Saarang
  • Gorakh Kalyan
  • Gunakri
  • Gurjari Todi
  • Hamir
  • Hansdhwani
  • Hindol
  • Jaijaiwanti
  • JanaSammohini
  • Jaunpuri
  • Jhinjhoti
  • Jogiya
  • Kafi
  • Kalavati
  • Kalingada
  • Kamod
  • Kedar
  • Khamaj
  • Kirwani
  • Lalit
  • Madhuvanti
  • Madhyamad Sarang
  • Malgunji
  • Malhar
  • Malkauns
  • Malkauns Pancham
  • Mand
  • Maru Bihag
  • Marwa
  • Miyan Malhar
  • Multani
  • Nand
  • Nat Bhairav
  • Pahadi
  • Patdeep
  • Piloo
  • Poorvi
  • Puriya
  • Puriya Dhanashri
  • Rageshri
  • Sham Kalyan
  • Shankara
  • Shivranjani
  • Shri
  • Shuddh Kalyan
  • Shuddh Sarang
  • Sohni
  • Tilak Kamod
  • Tilang
  • Todi
  • Vibhas
  • Vrindavani Sarang
  • Yaman
  • Yaman Kalyan
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Avinash Bikumalla | 01/12/2016

This is an informative article.

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