• Raag Kambhoji •


Sometimes summarised as ‘Dhrupad Jhinjhoti’, Kambhoji also invites shades of Kalavati via omitting ma in upward motions (Parrikar: GPD; PD; GPDnD; nDS). The raga’s history stretches back to pre-Medieval times: listed as a derivative of Shree in Narada’s 8th-century Sangita Makaranda, and as a spouse of Nat-Narayani in Pundarika Vittala’s 16th-century works (n.b. some speculate that the name ‘Kambhoji’ indicates origins in ancient Cambodian music, although most scholars point towards the Northwestern Kamboja civilisation instead: Iron-Age immigrants from Persia). While the raga’s Southern form remains popular, its Hindustani incarnation is near-exclusively a Dagarvani preserve – refer to renditions by the Senior Brothers, Zia Mohiuddin, Aminuddin, Sayeeduddin (“one of my favourite ragas…a 12-beat composition based on Shiva”), and Zahiruddin & Wasifuddin (“If I’m to be a human being, O Raskhan, I’d like to live in Brij, with the herdsmen of Nand; If I’m to be an animal, I have no hope…”). Also see Khambavati, another Jhinjhoti neighbour which places greater emphasis on ma.

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—Wasifuddin Dagar (2009)—

[refrain, e.g. 0:56] GG, G(mGm)R, SS SGR(GR)G, G(m)R, SSS, SRS\n(Dn), P/S, S(n) S(nSDnD), P(DnD), (S)DD D, (n)D DnDP, DP SD/S


• 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: Khamaj thaat, Khamaj, Jhinjhoti, Khambavati, Sakh, Gaoti


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRGmPDnS
Reverse: SRgmPdnS (=Darbari)
Negative: 2-2-3-2-3 (e.g. Bhupali)
Imperfect: 1 (Ga)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (r—P)
Murchanas: Bilawal set

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


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Harikambhoji
Jazz: Mixolydian
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o o • o • o o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Kambhoji, Khamboji, Kamboji, (‘Kamodi’ in some Odissa traditions)


—Zahiruddin & Wasifuddin Dagar (1992)—



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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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