• Raag Kabiri Bhairav •


Anuraag Dhoundeyal, writing in Swarajya magazine, considers Kabiri Bhairav to express “the angst of mystic experiences” (the ‘Kabir’ of the title refers to the famous 14th-century poet-mystic, highly influential on Sikh scriptures as well as the Hindu Bhakti movement through his radical critiques of organised religion). The raga’s poorvang matches with Bhairav (SrGm), however most melodic activity focuses on its singularly clustered uttarang space, with all tones in the Pare ‘half-saptak’ available in some guise (PdDnNSr). Best exemplified by Jaipur-Atrauli artists – refer to Manjiri Asanare-Kelkar’s excellent breakdown, which explains it as “mainly [a mix of] two ragas – Bhairav and Jogiya – and a very small phrase of Ahir Bhairav” (watch her demarcate the different phrase patterns with dancing hand signals!).

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—Mallikarjun Mansur (1968)—

[bandish, e.g. 0:02] mP (dn)d/r S, (N)Sdm, mP (P)G, Gm (r)Sr (G)m, mP P, (S)dm (Gm)P G, GmPm G\r S(rS)S, (mG)m mP P, P(dP)N\P PP(dP)d m, m(Gm)P PG(PG)mm, mP(dP)d/r S, S\d mP Gm (r)Sr (G)m


• More •

Histories, melodies, mythologies, etc…

—Imagery: Kabir (1440-1518)—
“Though little is known of the life of Kabir, it is believed he was born near Benares, and grew up in a family of Muslim weavers before becoming a disciple of the Hindu ascetic Ramananda. Kabir’s poetry draws on both Hinduism and Islam, though he was critical of both faiths – and some of his verses are included in the compilation of Sikh scriptures known as the Adi Granth. His mystical poems are grounded in the details and earthly particulars of everyday life…” (Poetry Foundation)


• 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: Rati Bhairav


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SrGmPdDnNS
Reverse: SrRgGmPdNS
Negative: 8-1-3
Imperfect: 3 (Pa, dha, Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: (~Ekakshari)
Jazz: Double Harmonic (dbl. 6th/7th)
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • • o o • o o o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Kabiri Bhairav, Kabeeri Bhairav


—Manjiri Asanare-Kelkar (2020)—



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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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