• Ga (Gandhar) •


The third step of the sapta swara, offering both komal (lowered) and shuddha (natural) options. While these are somewhat equivalent to the Western b3 and ♮3 (=300 and 400 cents), the Hindustani Ga may also take nearby microtones (e.g. Todi’s komal ga is often ‘ati-komal’: extra-flat). Plus, swaras are much more than just ‘notes’ (e.g. traditional scholarship associates Ga with solar energy, the bleating of goats, and the Gandharvas: Dharmic celestial beings revered for their abilities in music and dance). Also see Lagan Gandhar: a ‘triple-Ga’ raga created by the aptly-named Kumar Gandharva.

Sa | Re | Ga | Ma | Pa | Dha | Ni

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• Ga Categories •
Komal ga: present
Komal ga: only
Komal ga: varjit
Komal ga: imperfect
Komal ga: detached
Shuddha Ga: present
Shuddha Ga: only
Shuddha Ga: varjit
Shuddha Ga: imperfect
Shuddha Ga: detached
Generic Ga: present
Generic Ga: varjit
Double Ga: present
Mirror: g–D | gG–Dn | G—n

Quirks: komal ga sometimes tuned lower than 12-tet (e.g. the Todi raganga‘s ‘ati-komalsruti), and shuddha Ga often set closer to the ‘pure‘ maj. 3rd (~386 vs. 400 cents) • also see the ‘triple-GaLagan Gandhar (created by the aptly-named Kumar Gandharva)



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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 2023-24]

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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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