• Raag Bihagda •


A Khamaj-seasoned Bihag variant with historic connections to the Carnatic Behag, which appears in several overlapping variants. Raja notes that the raga’s maindouble-Ni’ form (indistinguishable from some interpretations of Khokar) is associated with Jaipur-Atrauli vocalists, who apply a pakad of Gm PDnDP, GmG PmPG, and limit Bihag’s tivra Ma to swift ornamental movements – while a second, rarer incarnation is essentially just ‘Bihag with shuddha ma & Ni only’ (n.b. a third Bihagda, noted by Bhatkhande, is now defunct). Also refer to Namita Devidayal’s vivid account of listening to the raga with her guru Dhondutai Kulkarni, who in turn learned it from Jaipur-Atrauli legend Kesarbai Kerkar: “A scratchy noise filled the speakers, before Dhondutai’s voice came on…This connection was like an electric current…the mellow music, this particular raga, and the memories that were softly bubbling to the surface, all made Dhondutai warm up…she described her first meeting with the demonic singer who had once guided these notes, and taught her how to please the deity inside Ga, the dominant swara: ‘Unlike you, I was not a foolish dilettante. I took my learning seriously’…”

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Aroha: SGmPNDS

Chalan: e.g. NSG; Gm; GmGP; GmPDnDP; GmPNS; NSNDP; PDNPDmPG; GmnDP; PmPG; GRS (Raja)


—Ulhas Kashalkar (2000)—

[refrain, e.g. 3:57] (PmP)Gm P\G, G(mG)m, Gm(G)m/n D(nD)P, DP(P)DPm, mPGG, (SR)N (N)S, (GPGDP) P(GP)S…


• 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.


• Prakriti: Desh, Des Malhar, Champak, Alhaiya Bilawal, Devgiri Bilawal, Kukubh Bilawal, Bihagara, Nat Kamod, Gaud Malhar, Sorath, Arun Malhar, Tilak Malhar


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRGmPDnNS
Reverse: SrRgmPdnS (=Gandhari)
Negative: 5-2-3-2
Imperfect: 1 (Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (Gm—nN)
Murchanas: Bihag set

Quirks: maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Behag
Jazz: Bebop Dominant
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o o • o • o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+Ni)
• Names: Bihagda, Bihagada, Behagda, ~Khokar (n.b. Bihagara, while related, is not the same raga)


—Pandit Jasraj (1993)—



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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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