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Raga Bilawal

    Raga Bilawal is one of the popular Raga and Ragang classified under the Bilawal Thaat of Hindustani Music is also called DhirShankarabharanam Mela of Carnatic Music. This is also the basic raga initially teach to the beginners of Indian classical music. The scale used in Raga Bilawal is natural (Suddh) and all seven notes (Swar) are in use in this raga. Most frequently, intellectuals used Komal Nishad in Avaroha as Vivadi (Vivrent) named a different melody called Raga Alahiya Bilawal but there is a rare difference between raga Bilawal and Alahiya Bilawal. The used of Komal Nishad as a dissonant note(Vivadi Swar) in Avaroah is part of Bilawalang, which is one of the prominent syllabi of  Raga Bilawal too. Some Musicians restricted the use of Komal Nishad in Avaroha and named the Raga as Suddh Bilawal. In General, Raga Bilawal and Alahiya Bilawal are the same Ragas but the uses of Komal Nishad(Bb) make a bit of difference in singing. Those who sing/play Alahiya Bilawal use Komal Nishad more than singing/playing Bilawal.  Renowned Music Maestro Ramrang Ji and Chatur Pandit B.N. Bhatkhande Ji also illustrated the same interpretation about the Raga Bilawal and Alahiya Bilawal in their book series Abhinav Geetanjali and Kramik Pustak Malika respectively. 

Raga Bilawal is Sampurna -Sampurna (Heptatonic ) raga, though its Chalan is zigzag both in Aroh and Avaroh. Alahiya Bilawal is considered as Vakra Sampurna Raga in some Gharana traditions of North India. Rishav, Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham, Dhaivat, and Nishad are usually not used straightaway. That’s why it is difficult to sing in comparison to other basic Raga. Komal Nishad is always used with Dhaivat in Avaroh. It is one of the beautiful Raga of Morning Glory where Dhaivat is considered as Vadi Swar and Gandhar is Samvadi Swar. Nyas swar are Shadaj, Gandhar, and Pancham. There is no Nyas in Dhaivat even it is the Vadi Swar of the Raga. There are so many variations of Bilawal popular in Hindustani Music, i.e. Devgiri Bilawal, Yamani Bilawal, Shukla Bilawal , Nat Bilawal, Kukumbh, and so many others . There are so many ragas where Bilawalang, Ga Ma Re Sa, Re Ga Ma, Ga Re Ga Pa, Ga Pa Ni Da Pa Da Ma Ga is commonly in use. The ascent and descent of the Raga Bilawal is:-

Aroha:        Sa Re Ga, Ma Re Ga Pa Da Ni Sa

Avaroha:    Sa Ni Da Ni Da Pa, Ma Ga Ma Re Sa       

Pakkad :     Ga Pa Da Ni Da Pa, Da Ma Ga, Re Ga Pa Ma Ga Ma Re Sa.

 Note: Kindly learn the proper techniques of musical improvisation and correct notes connection from the Guru to understand the basic characteristics of Raga. 


Raga Bhairav: A Foundation of Hindustani Vocal Music


Raga Bhairav

          The morning Raga Bhairav is a prominent raga in Hindustani Classical Music. It is considered as the very first raga to the beginners of Indian Classical Music. Raga Bhairav is classified under the Thaat Bhairav. The Thaat Bhriav is named because of Raga Bhairav by the great musicologist Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande. Rishav and Dhaivat are Komal (Flat) in Raga Bhriav and the rest of the notes are suddha(Natural).  Dhaivat in the Vadi of Raga and Rishav is regarded as the Samvadi Note of the Raga. Sometimes Komal Nishad is used as Vivadi (Virant Note) in Avaroha in between Dhaivat, Sa Ni Dha Pa Dha ni Dha. All  seven notes are used in both Aroha and Avaroha so the Jati of the Raga Bhairav is Sampurna-Sampurna. Dhaivat in Uttrang and Rishav in Purbang is the main note with special Andolan (vibration) while moving to Pancham and Shadaj simultaneously. Rishav, Madhyam, and Dhaivat are Nyas or the sustain notes where musicians hold the notes and improvise while in the process of singing. Singing time of this Raga in the first phase of the morning. Raga Bhairav is also known as adjoining raga of the morning calling SandhiPrakash raga- i.e connecting the morning with the down, the vanishing night,
and the rising sun. 

          Bhairav is a stable Raga and is considered the oldest one in Hindustani Classical Music. The nature of the raga is profound with the characteristic of seriousness and depth. It is not only the sole Raga but also the Ragang used in various Ragas to create a newer form of Raga. There are many Raga having Bhairavaang. Raga Ahir-Bhairav, Anand-Bhairav, Nat-Bhairav, Ramkali, Vairagi are a few among the many Ragas in Hindustani Classical Music.  Sa Re Sa, Ga Re Re, Ga Ma Re-- Sa, Ga Ma Dha - - Pa, Dha - Pa Dha Ma Pa Ga Ma Re -- Sa is the most commonly used pattern in Raga where Bhairavaang is adopted.

Aroha         :        Sa Re Ga Ma, Pa Dha Ni Sa

Avaroha      :        Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa

Pakad         :        Ga Ma Dha -- Pa, Ga Ma Re-- Sa..

Note: Kindy learns properly under the guidance of Guru/ Teacher so that you may understand the correct note combination and proper vocal intonation in Raga Bhairav.  


Music in Holy Text Upanishad and Purana


Music in Upanishad and Purana    

        The Pauranic period refers to the late 1000 BCE when various Purans were written. The literature of the Pauranic period was mostly confined to the Sage and the Praise of a particular deity. It is also a compilation of the rituals' recognition and respect of the bravery of the God and Goddess. In the Pauranic period where music becomes both devotional and secular in character. A distinctive improvement upon Vedic music was evident. Among the eighteen Purna; Gandharva Puran, Bhagvat Puran, Skand Purna, Garud Purna, and Vayu Puran are prominent where music was largely associated with rituals and religious oblation. As it was mentioned in Arayanak Granth, Brahman Granth, and Upanishad that music often practices praying, chanting, and following the religious Yajna. 

    The main motive of musical practice till the time was for Karmakand- The rituals, Iswar-Upasand-Praise of Almighty God, and Mokshya- Salvation. In the process of development, music refers to the plenty of elements accomplished with vocal intonation or the abolishment of rituals belief. Vedic music gradually came to Deshi and Margi types of sangeet during the Pauranic period. Most commonly these types of musical variations were called Laukik and Vaidik Gaan. Gandharva Gaan was known as Margi Sangeet and is usually performed by the deities in Heaven and Laukik Sangeet or the Deshi sangeet is associated with the folks. Vedic Music a combination of Samgaan- Archik and Gaan.

     The Most important thing illustrated in Vayu Puran which deals with the musical component like Grams, Murchana, Taans, Varnas, and Alankars is the fundamental aspect of music during the Pauranic period. Therefore, as come across with various Purana, music with the conceptual design was somehow modifying and adopting the materialism, consequently forming the new tunes, rhythms, and melodies.


Indian Classical Music in Pre-Vedic Period


Pre-Vedic Period

        The Mythical and weird stories that have been heard about the fundamental concept regarding the origin of the music are only fictional or might have some realism, nobody knows the truth. We all are in a process of accepting these fictional or mythical stories and believed that origin of music may have a strong connection with the almighty God- Lord Shiva or Prophet Mohammad or Christ or any of the supreme personalities of each and individual religion. We have never thought about universal acceptance and its evolution like the other things that happened in the phenomenon of nature. 

    The people in the Middle East believed that music is the supreme gift of Prophet Mohammad who discovers the concept of seven Swar while walking in the desert. South-Asian and Indian Philosophy said that music is the divine source gifted to humans by Lord Shiva to Goddess Saraswati to Saga Narada to Folks on Earth. Christians have their own philosophy regarding the origin of music and mankind whereas Jainism, Buddhism, and other sacred religions observed in the various regions have Independent thoughts and beliefs regarding the formation of music and melody. Each of the religious beliefs believed that their supreme almighty God has created Music. However, the contradiction among the people around the world regarding the origin of music makes no sense but only the sectarian and religious zealot. In between these all, one more pathway has been observers, the theory of evolution might have a real connection in the context of origin and development of Music. 

    Apart from Mythical or religious belief, the fundamental perception that has been discovered by science that man was a close relative of chimpanzee species, gradually developed to shape the modern form.  From Unicellural organisms to various species have traveled millions of years to form reptiles, amphibians to mammals. Thus in the process,  nature has taught the creature to birth, live, and die. Moreover, human has learned to cultivate a civilization, speak and in the process, they also learn to sing or play something that sounds musical. Have you ever noticed, music is the part of nature where you can hear the wind is whispering, the trees are dancing, Rivers, Waterfalls are singing, clouds and the rain are accompanying the natural with the rhythmic cycle of up and down, whispering of birds are like the chorus singing, the roar of tiger, mesmerizing vocal of Nightengale, Elephant, Horse and many more species blended with the fragrance of nature please the entire surround that can realize as the eternal power of mother earth. From the inspiration of these all mesmerizing happening around, humans also have learned to mutter. Thus music emerges with the gradual development of mankind.

 Primitive music history has much more to discover and much more to unfold as it evolved through countless processes from generation to generation. In the pre-history period music was supposed to be associated with Human Living and day-to-day essentialities related in order maintain the rituals or the part and partial of entertainment. It has been noticed with inscriptions and archaeological excavation, primitive humans were mainly confined with hunting and later engaged with agriculture gathering for food. Their joyfulness, faith, and gladness in life got expressed through music and dance. It was their regular practice because they do live in caves, forests,s or the hill hills, and they do speak and sang songs with louder voices to entertain themselves and also to notify the other species about their presence. The gathering and monotonous tonality slowly convert to musical tones with particular ascent and descent. The innovative and creative concept that human has added to the melodies of primitive era music later form a piece of systematic rejoicing music. It is believed the people in pre-Vedic used to sing a song in one or two notes, higher for joy and lower for sorrow. Clapping of hands is one of the most common characteristics found in primitive humans to express joy too. 

    The Primitive people sang or danced when they felt something positive to express and enjoy. Singing and dancing were, therefore, the spontaneous outbursts of their common thoughts. Moments of hands, limbs, and uses of leather-wrapped wooden and stone instruments are the accompaniment during the expression of emotion through song. Perhaps they have learned to make musical instruments from the skin of animals or the fiber of the palm leaves and the grasses. They might have made the drums out of wood and covered the mouth with the skin of animals. Man and Music in the Prevedic era were extemporaneous and naturally evolves with the needs and necessities of mankind.

Notation System in Hindustani Classical Music


Notation System

          The notation system in North India is called Swarlip Paddhati which is recognized as the major tool in transcribing Indian Classical music. In western music, there are various patterns of notation systems but staff notation is highly recognized all over the world. It is well understood that a standard notation system is only the way to write music in a systematic way. That's why Bhatkhande Swarlipi Paddhati is one of the recognized and widely following notation systems in India to write Hindustani Classical Music. 

          In India, current Music legacy comes from the oral tradition and long heritage of music since from per Vedic period. There are so many testimonials that provide solid proof of transcribing the music during the Vedic period to the ancient period to the medieval period. Notation or the symbol or the sign were used in past centuries to denote the musical terms in written form. The Stone inscription or the wall painting found in the different caves are other testimonials that show the musical legacy in India. Acharya Bharat in Natyashastra, Acharya Matangmuni in Brihaddesi, Narada in Sangeet Makarand, and Pandit Sharangdev in Sangeetratnakar have described the pattern of writing music in the various terminology but nobody follows similar patterns throughout the period. Pandit Vidyarane and Pandit Vyankatamakhi of Tanjour have discovered the pattern of writing music around the 15th century. Later Pandit Ahobal, Pandit Lochan, Pandit Shrinivasan added their own perspectives to make the notation system systematic but could not get well recognization. Kshetra Mohan Goswami, Dwijendranath Tagore, and Jyotirindranath Tagore in Bengal also discovered a different pattern of Swarlipi in Rabindrasangeet but the Aakarmatrik Swarlipi discovered by Jyotirindranath Tagore was established as the main notation system by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Various scholars and intellectuals had done a tremendous effort to form a systematic notation system of the oral tradition of Indian classical music in different times period. The renowned musicologist of the 20th century Pt. Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande is one among all who systematic the terms of Hindustani classical music and restructured the symbols, alphabets-numeric letter,s and sign in a simple way that every person can understand the written music of Hindustani Music after basic guidance. Another great musicologist and Guru Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and his linage of disciples have also discovered the notation system in Hindustani Music but it could not gets as popular as Pt. Bhatkhande Natation System. Here is the short outlook of the Bhatkhande Notation System that can guide you to understand the written form of Hindustani Classical Music.      

Bhatkhande Swarlipi Paddhati:-

          Renowned Musicologist Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande introduce the simple format of writing music in the early 20th century. The teaching and pattern later on famous with the name Bhatkhande notation system in Indian Music. This pattern of writing musical tones is widely popular in the South Asian subcontinent. The main characteristic of Bhatkhande swirling is simple to understand. The terms symbol and signature used in identifying the Swar, Taal, Matra are very simple and easily understood by the beginners too. Here are the list of symbol and sign used in Bhatkhande Notation system.


For Swar:-

1.       & (Das under any swara indicate the komal swar).

2.       A (standing line above the Madhyam indicates Tivra Swar).

3.       No sign in any Swar means natural notes or Suddha Swara.

4.      . (dot under each Swara indicate the lower octave notes or Mandre Saptak Swar).

5.    . (Dot above any Swar means higher octave notes or the tar Saptak Swar)

6.    (Semi Circle covering any Swar from below means counting of all Swar in one matra).

7.            (Semi circle above covering any Swar means the meed or the note from where particular notes start to come to the main note).

8.       (lk) -(Sa) (Bracket Swar means the Khatka or Murki spell around one Swar i.e., (lkjslkfu)- (SRNS) in a hidden way. Khatka is the term more commonly used in Dhrupad and Khyal Style and Murki is a part of Semi-Classical forms like Thumri, Dadra, Tappa Geet and Ghazals. 

9.       & (Dash in between the two Swar means the enlargement of the previous swar or sometimes counted as rest space.)

10.     · (· denotes the pause between the bandish poetry and usually being used as the long spell or previous alphabet to ornament the beauty of singing as well as playing an instrument)

For Taal :

·        X (cross sign below the bols of any tala means the sum or the first matra of tala. This type of signature is commonly used in Bandish and tala).

·        0 (zero indicates the Khali of the tala. It is used in tala notation as well. In Bandish these signs are the time signature to identify the rotation of the Bandish).

·        1, 2, 3 (usually write under the first note of any Vibhag to denotes the tali and counting of rhythm in music).

·        A&A&A&A (vertical lines used in separation the counting of rhythm in Bhatkhande notation system is called Vibhag. This simplifies the understanding of Raga and tala rhythm cycle with tali Khali).


Chord progression In Raga Bhupali

 Chords In Raga 

    Indian Classical Music is distinctly formed and structured in a sequence that is different than the western music chord progression. A Scale of each individual Raga is different in Indian Music, even the notes combination, Primary Notes, assonant notes, and many more components are the factor to create the melodies that sound different from one another. The Raga Bhupali and the Raga Deskar share the same scale even the same note combination but the melodies of the raga are different from one another. One of the major components of Indian classical music is the melody. It is constructed not by chords or the harmony progression but created by connecting the notes and their interrelationship between the two particular notes. The microtones called Shruti are one of the major factors which determine the correct establishment of the Raga with Vadi- Samvadi and Anuvadi Notes.

    The Chords in Raga Bhupali, Major pentatonic Scale, if choose base note C# will be the chord Progression  C#, D# Sus2/4 or Fm7,  Fdim,  G#6Sus, A#m or C#6. The same will be played in Deskar and the similar chord progression in one Pattern of Suddh Kalyan Raga.

    Here, the major concern is to establish the Notes in different sequences that create the melody of the raga. In Bhupali, Gandhar and Dhaivat are the major Note and the entire raga is revolve around these notes. Similarly, In Deskar the main note is Dhaivat which connects with Shadaj and Gandhar to form a melody that sounds quite different than Bhuplai or Suddh Kalyan. If we Supposed C# as root note in Both Raga then F is the center point in Bhuplai which connect G# of Middle octave and A# of Lower octave with C# D# and F to form the melody of different character then Deskar, where A# is center point connecting F  of Middle octave to higher octave C#. It sounds a little fickle or agile in comparison to Bhupali. Raga Bhuplai sounds stable or serious in character and is played basically in Middle or Lowe octave whereas Raga Deskar is a fickle and unstable raga usually played or sung in Middle or High Octave melody. Thus C# Fm7, A#m can be the cords that may show more stability than the chord progression with D#sus4, Fdim, G#Sus6, or C#6.

To be continued.......



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