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Meet the ragas of Indian Classical music that fill up your soul

Ragas are systems of keynotes - a bunch of melodic notes set up in a singing pattern - that signify them. The rising and plunging order of these melodic notes is similar to Hindustani and Carnatic music. At the point when organized in the ascending order of their notes, the Ragas are in an aroh design. At the point when the notes are organized in a descending style, they are in an avaroh design. It is additionally critical to recollect that these ragas are typically recommended to be practiced at specific hours of the day. In Carnatic music, Ragas are characterized given their Swaras though, whereas in Hindustani Music, Ragas are organized by their Thaat, which is a gathering of melodic notes and there are ten unique combinations of ragas in light of it. All ragas have what is known as a "Vadi" note, which stands apart from the others as the most noticeable note in that raga. This is the note that appears to wrap the raga around itself. Musical artists will return to this note on numerous occasions and use it in numerous ways. The vadi has a partner called samvadi. Some well-known ragas are-

  • 1. Raag Asaravi, 2. Raag Bhairav, 3. Raag Bhairavi, 4. Raag Bilawal, 5. Raag Kafi, 6. Raag Kalyan, 7. Raag Khamaj, 8. Raag Marwa, 9. Raag Purvi, 10. Raag Todi 


Q1. How many types of raga exist according to structure?

As far as raga structure is concerned, there are symmetric, asymmetric, blended (mishra), compound, and circuitous ragas. Symmetric ragas have a similar number of notes in both the rising and descending scales: five (audav), six (shadav), or seven (sampoorna). Also, they utilize similar notes in both the rising and descending scales. Kafi and Durga are instances of symmetric ragas. Most ragas are not symmetric. An alternate number of notes in the rising and descending scales is one justification for asymmetry. In such cases, the rising scale, for the most part, has fewer notes, since notes are avoided on the way up more frequently than on the way down, as on account of Raag Dhani. In standard traditional music, craftsmen stick to the structure of the raga rigorously. However, in light and semi-traditional settings, they can stand to be more energetic, for example, by blending in extra notes. In such cases, the adjective mishra (blended) is added to the name of the raga. Circuitous ragas can be recognized initially by their undulating climbing and plummeting scales. This happens because a portion of their notes is regularly accessed through different notes or in unambiguous note patterns. Ragas can be circuitous to various degrees.

Q2. What does “Raga” represent?

The symbolic job of traditional music through rāga has been both tasteful extravagance and profound purification in total harmony (yoga). The previous is represented in Kama writing (like Kamasutra), while the last option shows up in Yoga writing with concepts, for example, "Nada Brahman" (mystical Brahman of sound). Hindola rāga, for instance, is viewed as an indication of Kama (lord of affection), ordinarily through Krishna. Hindola is additionally connected to the celebration of dola, which is all the more regularly known as the "spring celebration of varieties" or Holi. This thought of tasteful imagery has likewise been communicated in Hindu temple reliefs and carvings, as well as paintings, for example, the ragamala.

Q3. Which is the most difficult raga to sing?

The melakartha raga Todi is inherently difficult to perform due to the complexity of its usage in different kritis. The profound Thodi ragam of Carnatic music has its Hindustani equivalent in Bhairavi. While Thodi, actually named Hanumathodi is the eighth melakarta of the 72 in number and occupies the second place in the Netra (2nd) chakra belongs to the second netra chakra, Bhairavi is slotted in the fifth of the ten thaats. Todi (Janathodi/Nattakokilam Pann) and Bhairavi are both ancient ragas. In the Hindustani parlance it is a female raag. Both Todi and Bhairavi, with their majestic contours evoke karuna and bhakti. Thodi has the complexity of its usage in different kritis at different structural points (prayoga).

Q4. How many notes does a raga have?


A raag can contain some or all seven notes and can have different numbers of notes in its ascending and descending scales. The rules governing which notes may, or may not be used in ascent (Aroha) or descent (avroh) form a large part of the grammatical rules for how to correctly execute a performance of the raag. In Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, the most common way to classify a raga is under ten parent scales (called thaat). A thaat is no more than a seven-note scale including one each of the seven notes sa re ga ma pa dha ni (the Indian equivalent of do re mi fa so la ti).

Q5. What are the rules of Raag?


Rules are -


1. Number of notes - minimum 5 (Odav) raag.


2. Aroha Avroha - Sequence of notes while going up from shadja to taar shadja and coming back.


3. Vaadi Samvadi - The notes when stopped, create dialog between poorvanga(first half, Sa to Pa/Ma) and uttaraanga (second half Ma/Pa to Sa (taar shadja)).


4. Andolan.


5. Gamak - On what notes, gamak has to be defined. Some ragas are performed without a gamak, but others like Marwa, Darbari, and Bhairav are incomplete without a gamak.


6. Anga - There are different anga, like kanda, nat etc.


7. Thaat- The raga structure is based on rules of thaat. There are 10 thaats from Bhairav, bilawal, asawari, kalyan, kafi,khamaj etc.

Q6. How many ragas exist in Indian music?


There are around 83 ragas in Indian classical music. However, Pandit Jasraj lists the six primary ragas as follows:


Raag Bhairav: Bhairav is a morning raga,


Rag Malkauns: sung in the early morning hours.,


Raag Deepak: an evening raag,


Raag Shri: an evening Raag during the sunset,


Rag Megh: seasonal raag to bring rain,


Raag Hindol: the first part of the day.


There are countless ragas according to classical music. However if the theory of Pandit Byankat Mokhi is followed, one Thata = 484 ragas. Then, Hindustani classical music has 10 Thatas so, there are 484×10=4840 ragas. Carnatic music has 72 melas (thata) so, there are 484×72= 34,848 ragas. So, approximately 34,848+4840=39696 ragas are there (This is just guesswork).

Q7. Which is the oldest raga?


Malkauns, known also as rag Malkosh, are one of the oldest ragas of Indian classical music. It is derived from the combination of Mal and Kaushik, which means he wears serpents like garlands – the god Shiva. The raga is believed to have been created by goddess Parvati to calm lord Shiva when he was outraged and refused to calm down after Tandav in the rage of Sati's sacrifice. According to Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj, Malkauns is a raga that is sung during small hours of the morning, just after midnight. The raga has a soothing and intoxicating effect. Malkauns belongs to the Bhairavi thaat. Its notes are Sa, Komal Ga, shuddh Ma, Komal Dha, and Komal Ni.

Q8. Which raga is for memory?

It has been established that Memory improves immediately after listening to Raga Bhupali. “Music pieces based on the two ragas ‘Mohana’ helps to overcome problems of attention deficit and lack of concentration in children and ‘shivaranjani’ helps to enhance the intellect and overcome memory problems,” one of the study group members Dr. Indira said. Instrumental music based on Raga Malkauns can easily transform the disturbed mind into a calm and quiet mind. Similarly, music based on Raga Desh can improve the blood supply to the brain and thereby improve the functions of the human brain, mind, and consciousness.