• Raag Gara •


Gara is a disparate melodic lineage, derived from thumri compositions of centuries past: Manuel’s research describes it as “a loose, informal melodic entity until the 18th century, after which [its] grammar was organised by classically trained musicians…like Kafi, Pilu, Jungala, Barwa, and Zila”. Often close to Jaijaiwanti, the modern Gara may also draw from Pilu, Khamaj, and Jhinjhoti, setting their melodies within a vakra framework focused on mandra-madhya saptak: low Pa is used as the scale-base, and low Sa is home to a pakad of DnSNS. Also see Pancham se Gara (‘Gara from Pa’) a murchana-based derivative which rotates this catchphrase upwards a perfect 5th to form GmPMP, as well as Madhyam se Gara, which adds a perfect 4th (=RgmGm). Typically considered a night raga (although Bhatkhande classified it as time-neutral) – refer to Deepak Raja’s superb analysis for more (“Conventional wisdom regards Gara as vivacious and romanticVilayat Khan adopts the PiluJhinjhoti axis of the raga described by Bhatkhande, however, towards the upper end of the melodic canvas, [he] tilts mildly towards Jaijaiwanti of the Bageshriang…).

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Aroha: e.g. mPDNS, RgR, GmP
Avroh: e.g. PmgR, SnDP, DNS

Chalan: signatures, e.g. RgRS; DnPDNS; GmRgR (Raja)


—Ravi Shankar (2001)—

[refrain, e.g. 1:12] (SNS)N S(mR) R(mgmgRgRS), (RS)R SS(RS), (nDP)DP (PD)PD N(SN), N(SN), S, (NSR)S (nD)n, R, RR, Rg(Rmg) (R)SS, N(SmRmg), g(RgR), (RSNS)N N(SN), S(mR), R(gRmgRg), (RS)R S(RS), (nD)nD (DPD)PD N(SN), (nD)PDNS NS…


• 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: Jaijaiwanti, Jaijaiwanti Nat, Zila Kafi, Hanskinkini, Jayant Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar, Rageshri Bahar, Tilang Bahar, Nagadhwani Kanada, Patdeepaki


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRgGmPDnNS
Reverse: SrRgmPdDnS (=Amiri Todi)
Negative: 5-5-2
Imperfect: 1 (Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (r—P)
Murchanas: Jaijaiwanti set

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


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Kapi
Jazz: Dorian-Ionian
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o o o o • o • o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Gara, Gaara, Ghara


—Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande (2018)—



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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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