• Raag Harikauns •


Among the strangest of pentatonic scales, Harikauns resembles ‘Madhukant no Re/Pa’ or ‘Madhukauns with Dha-for-Pa’ (or ‘Malkauns with the middle two swaras raised’) – forming a ‘diminished square’ of 3-semitone jumps (SgMD) plus a (symmetry-destroying) komal ni. Aside from a natural uttarang focus, the raga allows for near-complete freedom of motion – but presents inherent challenges to any who attempt it, with all swaras except ga being imperfect, and the dissonant Mani sangati left in stark focus (a Telegraph India critic once described it as the “one of the ugliest and most difficult to sing ever conceived”, in a nevertheless glowing review of an Ulhas Kashalkar concert: mis-heard as ‘Holikauns’). While most effective renditions I can find rely heavily on the ornamental flexibility of the human voice (e.g. Amir Khan, Prabha Atre, Jitendra Abhisheki), my all-time favourite has to be Nasir Ahmed’s incredible electric mandolin take, which turns instead to the rapid scale-navigatory capabilities afforded by his smaller fretboard. Also see Tivrakauns (the same scale with komal dha instead).

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Aroha: SgMDnS
Avroh: SnDMgS

Chalan: (uncodified)


—Nasir Ahmed (2003)—

[gat, e.g. 11:50] MMgS (D)nD nD, MDnSg\S, MMgS (D)nD nD, (S)ngMDnD…


• 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: (none found)


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SgMDnS
Reverse: SRgMDS
Negative: 2-1-2-1-2-1-3 (e.g. Rampriya)
Imperfect: 4 (Sa, Ma, Dha, ni)
Detached: 3 (Sa, Ma, Dha)
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none

Quirks: ‘detached Sa‘ • tivra Ma, komal ni‘ (rarest pairing) • fragmented‘ (at least half the swaras are detached)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: (~Jeevanthini)
Jazz: Thyritonic
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • • o • • o • • o o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Sa
• Names: Harikauns, Hari Kauns


—Amir Khan (~1950s)—



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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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