• Raag Bairagi (Bhairav) •


A pentatonic form introduced to the ragascape by Ravi Shankar in the 1940s. Its swara set – which concisely scatters interval jumps of 1, 2, 3, and 4 semitones – is describable as ‘Megh komal re’ (or ‘Lilavati no Ga’), while its melodies generally draw from the Bhairavang (e.g. sustained oscillations on komal re). Generally favoured by instrumentalists more than vocalists, although audav specialist Amir Khan‘s renditions are ever-sublime. The nSr grouping is reminiscent of Vedic-era chant refrains (in Anoushka Shankar’s words, “Bairagi has this deep, spiritual, internal quality”), while the overall swara-set resembles the Carnatic Revathi – and also the ‘Insen Scale’ of Japanese classical music (as highlighted in Aishik Bandyopadhyay’s Comparative Study between Indian Ragas and Japanese Scales).

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—Shahid Parvez (2021)—

[refrain, e.g. 5:01] P/n\P, n S r, r/m g/m, (m)rS, P/n\P, n(Sn) S r


• Classifiers •

Explore hidden inter-raga connections: swara geometries, melodic features, murchana sets, ragangas, & more (also see the Full Tag List):

Swaras: -4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10+

Sapta: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Poorvang: SRGM | SRG | SRM | SGM

Uttarang: PDNS | PDS | PNS | DNS

Varjit: Re | Ga | Ma | Pa | Dha | Ni

Double: rR | gG | mM | dD | nN

Thaat: 10 | 32Enclosed | Inexact

Chal: All-shuddha | All-komal | Ma-tivra

Gaps: Anh. | Hemi. | 3-row | 4-row | 5-row

Symmetries: Mirror | Rotation | Palindr.

Aroha: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Avroh: Audav | Shadav | Sampurna

Jati: Equal | Balanced | Av.+1 | Av.+2

Samay: Morning | Aftern. | Eve. | Night

Murchana: Bhup. | Bihag | Bilaw. | Charu.

Raganga: Bhairav | Malhar | Kan. | Todi

Construction: Jod | Mishra | Oddball

Origin: Ancient | Carnatic | Modern

Dominance: Poorvang | Uttarang

Prevalence: A-list | Prachalit | Aprach.


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: S-r-m-P-n-S
Reverse: SRmPNS (=none)
Inverse: Ni; SgGmPDnS (=Jogeshwari Panch.)
Imperfect: 2 (re, Pa)
Detached: 1 (re)
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: Shivranjani set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: Revathi
Jazz: Phrygian Dominant (no 3rd/6th)
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • • • o • o • • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+ni)
• Names: Bairagi, Bairaga, Bairgi Bhairav, Bairagi Bhairon, ~Kshanika


—Rashid Khan (1997)—




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Hindustani Raga Index

An open-ended project seeking to bring North Indian raga closer to all who approach with open ears. Combines direct input from dozens of leading Hindustani artists with in-depth insights from music history, global theory, performance practice, cognitive science, and much more! [out 2023]

Megalist (365+ ragas)
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Thaat: Bhatkhande’s base scales •
Murchanas: Swara-set rotations •
Quotes: Musings from raga artists •
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George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher (guitars, sitar, tabla, & santoor). Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the voices, cultures, and passions behind them. See Homepage for more, and hit me up for Lessons!

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