Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

Hari's Carnatic - Click to go home

RagaQuick Navigate

Back

Back to the page

What is Raga ?

In classical music of India - Carnatic or Hindustani,  Raga stands for a group of sounds decorated with musical expressions that creates a sense of pleasure to the listener. Tala controls the time measure and gives music its beat. Memory thus plays an important part in Indian music.

Raga can be loosely defined as melody type or expressive mode. It consists of series of up to seven Swaras (Notes), which bear a definite relationship to adhara shadja and which occur in a particular sequence. They derive their personality through notes of defined pitch entering into their formation. It is the arrangement of particular swaras, in conformity to recognised aesthetic laws that establish the rupa (form) of raga.

However, Raga is much more than a scale. It is defined as "that which colors the mind" in ancient text. (Raga in Sanskrit stands for: coloring, dyeing, tingeing). A raga is in some ways a kind of mystical expression with a musical personality of its own. The whole structure of Indian music is built around the concept of raga. Indian melodies of the classical type are based on ragas. As for folk melodies a good number of them will be in some recognizable raga and some are in mixed ragas. The same goes with popular film music tunes too.

Top

Classification of Ragas

Ragas are classified mainly into Janaka ragas and Janya ragas. Janaka ragas are also known as  Melakartha Ragas or Sampurna ragas. A Janya raga is said to be derived from a janaka raga. It takes the same swaras as in its melakartha raga, but may take fewer swaras.

So within each category they can differ only in Re, Ga, Dha and Ne. These are systematically divided into six chakras, with six melams per chakra.

 

Example: Kanakangi (1st Melakartha) and its Janyams

Ragam

Melam

No

Aarohanam

Avarohanam

Kanakangi

Kanakaangi

1

Sa Re1 Ga1 Ma1 Pa Da1 Ne1 Sa

Sa Ne1 Da1 Pa Ma1 Ga1 Re1 Sa

Kadagapriya

Kanakaangi

1

sa ga re ga ma pa da pa ne sa

sa da pa da ma ga re sa

Kanakambari

Kanakaangi

1

sa ga re ga ma pa da ne da sa

sa ne da pa ma ga re sa

Mukthambari

Kanakaangi

1

sa re ga ma pa ne sa

sa ne da ma ga re sa

Peragasindhamani

Kanakaangi

1

sa re pa ma pa da ne sa

sa da pa ma ga re sa

Vaageswari

Kanakaangi

1

sa re ga ma pa da sa

sa da pa ma ga re sa

Top

Janya Ragas

A Janya raga is said to be derived from a janaka raga. It takes the same swaras as in its melakartha raga, but may take fewer swaras. Janya ragas are further grouped into:

Vakra ragas also are classified into: 

based on number of vakra swaras in the raga (one, two, three and four respectively). Four is the maximum number of vakra swara that a raga accommodate.

Note that a raga with only four notes in aarohana or avarohana is not considered since atleast five swaras are required to give an individuality to the raga. Also janayas can have different number of swaras in arohanam and avarohanam giving rise to eight types of varja ragas.

Top

Eight kinds of Varja Ragas with examples

Ragam

Melam

No

Aarohanam

Avarohanam

Varja Type

Kamboji

Hari Kamboji

28

sa re ga ma pa da sa

sa ne da pa ma ga re sa

Shadava (6)- Sampurna (7)

Bilahari

Dheera Shankarabharanam

29

Sa re ga pa da sa

Sa ne da pa ma ga re sa

Audava (5) - Sampurna (7)

Bhairavam

Suryakantham

17

Sa re ga ma pa da ne sa

Sa da pa ma ga re sa

Sampurna (7) - shadava (6)

Saramathi

Natabhiravi

20

Sa re ga ma pa da ne sa

Sa ne da ma ga sa

Sampurna (7) - Audava (5)

Sriranjani

Karagapriya

22

Sa re ga ma da ne sa

Sa ne da ma ga re sa

Shadava (6) - Shadava (6)

Natakurunji

Hari Kamboji

28

Sa re ga ma da ne sa

Sa ne da ma ga sa

Shadava (6) - Audava (5)

Malahari

Mayamalavagaula

15

Sa re ma pa da sa

Sa da pa ma ga re sa

Audava (5) - Shadava (6)

Mohanam

Hari Kamboji

29

Sa re ga pa da sa

Sa da pa ga re sa

Audava (5)- Audava (5)

Top

 

Sudha Madhyama Ragas

Indu

Netra

Agni

Vedha

Baana

Ruthu

Kanakaangi

Seanavathi

Gaayaga Priya

Jangharadhwani

Maara Rajnani

Yaagha Priya

Ratnaangi

Hanumat Thodi

Vagulaa Baranam

Nata Bhiravi

Chaarukesi

Raaga Vardhani

Ganamurthi

Dheanuka

Maaya Malava Gaula

Keeravani

Sarasaangi

Kaangheya Bhushani

Vanaspathi

Naataka Priya

Chakra Vaagham

Karagara Priya

Hari Kaamboji

Vaagha Dheeswari

Maalavathi

Kokila Priya

Suurya Kantham

Gauri Manogari

Dheera Shankara Bharanam

Seelini

Dhaana Roopini

Roopavathi

Haatakambhari

Varuna Priya

Naaga Nandhini

Chala Naata

Prathi Madhyama Ragas

Rishi

Vasu

Brahma

Dishi

Rudra

Aditya

Jaalakam

Kavaambhodi

Thavalaambari

Syamalaanghi

Kandhaamani

Su Charithra

Jaalarnavam

Bhava Priya

Naama Naarayani

Shanmughapriya

Rishabha Priya

Swodhis Ruupini

Jaala Varaali

Subha Bhandhu Varali

Kaama Vardhani

Simmhendhra Madhyamam

Lathaangi

Thadhu Vardhani

Navaneetham

Shatvidha Maarghani

Raama Priya

Heamavathi

Vaachaspathi

Naasigha Bhushani

Bhaavani

Swarnaanghi

Gamana Priya

Dharmavathi

Measha Kalyani

Koochalam

Raghupriya

Dhivyamani

Viswambhari

Neethimathi

Chitraambhari

Raghasya Priya

Top

Examples of Bhasanga and Vakra Janya ragas

Ragam

Melam

No

Aarohanam

Avarohanam

Type

Kathana kuthuhalam

Deera Sankarabharanam

29

Sa re ma da ne ga pa sa

Sa ne da pa ma ga re sa

Sampurna vakra

Karnataka Byag

Hari Kamboji

28

Sa re ga ma pa da ne sa

Sa ne da ne pa da ma ga re ga sa

Sahana

Hari Kamboji

28

Sa ra ga ma pa ma da ne sa

Sa ne da pa ma ga ma re ga re sa

Nalinakanthi

Sarasangi

27

Sa ga re ma pa ne sa

Sa ne pa ma ga re sa

Vakra varja

Devamanohari

Karagarapriya

22

Sa re ma pa da ne sa

Sa ne da ne pa ma re sa

Bangala

29

Sa re ga ma pa ma re pa sa

Sa ne pa ma re ga re sa

Nilambari

Deera Sankarabharanam

29

Sa re ga ma pa da pa ne sa

Sa ne pa ma ga re ga sa

Ekasvara

Suposhini

Sa re sa ma pa ne da sa

Sa da ne pa ma re ma sa

Dviswara
Bhairavi Natabhiravi 20 Sa ga re ga ma pa da ne sa Sa ne da pa ma ga re sa

Bhasanga Chathusruthi dhivatham (annya swaram) in aarohanam, Sudha dhivatham in avarohanam

Back

Top

Acknowledgement:
http://raaga.net
Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, Subbarama Dikshitar
Ragas in Carnatic Music, Dr S. Bhagyalekshmy
Posting on behalf of Dr Narayanaswami, having trouble with the internet, by Pramila Srinivasan