• Raag Hem Bihag •


Often cited as an invention of Ravi Shankar, Hem Bihag was in fact devised by his teacher Allauddin Khan – as noted by Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan when they chose it to open a tribute concert just a few weeks on from their guru’s 1972 death, at the reputed age of 110 (below: “we begin with a creation of his, a night raga…”). Allauddin himself never recorded it (although you can hear him exploring both its parents on the violin: Hem & Bihag) – meaning that modern renditions instead follow after Shankar, Ali Akbar, and Nikhil Banerjee‘s various takes, which tend to exhibit a weak Dha, strong Ni, and the avoidance of Re in aroha. The ‘Hem’ in the name refers to Hemant – another Khansaab invention which builds from a Bhinna Shadja base – rather than Khem Kalyan (although I’ve heard occasional mention of another, older species of ‘Hem Bihag’, which does draw from the latter raga).

Raga Megalist (365+) •
Search | Glossary | Tags
Hindustani Raga Index •


—Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan (1972)—

[alap phrases, e.g. 16:22] GmP(N) N N, N N\D D(P) (G)m m, (m)P (m)P m(PDPm), m(GmG) G, (DmP)N N, NSN N(PN) (PS)S, (N)S S, (NR)S S, (NR)S S(NS)N N, NS/GG, G(m)m P\G G, GmG\R RS, S(NS) G\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-G-m-P-D-N-S
Reverse: SrgmPdnS (=Bhairavi)
Inverse: ni; SgmdnS (=Malkauns)
Imperfect: 1 (Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (R—d)
Murchanas: Bilawal set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: Sankarabharanam
Jazz: Major / Ionian
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o o • o • o • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+Ni)
• Names: Hem Bihag, Hemant Bihag


—Nikhil Banerjee (1960)—




Like everything on my site, the Raga Index will always remain 100% open-access and ad-free: however, anti-corporate musicology doesn’t pay the bills! I put as much into this project as time and finances allow – so, if you like these resources, you can:

Support the Raga Index! •

…and hasten the project’s expansion…
—Riyaz-focused notations & bandish—
—Resurrecting rare and ancient ragas—
—Further melodic & geometric analysis—
—Engaging with Hindustani performers—
—Ensuring that high-quality raga knowledge will remain open to all, at no cost: free from commercial motive!—


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)
Search: Find your new favourite •
Tags: Classifying the ragascape •
Glossary: Raga jargon demystified
Ragatable: Analytical connections •
Thaat: Bhatkhande’s base scales •
Murchanas: Swara-set rotations •
Quotes: Musings from raga artists •
Tanpuras: Divine overtonal drones •
Talas: Hindustani rhythm cycles •
[Random Raga]

—Search the Raga Index—

Feedback / Contact •

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!

Learn raga on any instrument! •

everything 100% ad-free and open-access