• Raag Kirwani •


Despite its congruence with the Western Harmonic Minor, Kirwani has origins in the Carnatic Keeravani (likely via Ravi Shankar‘s extensive Southern borrowings): thus lending it a natural popularity for North-South jugalbandi duets, offering artists from both cultures a rich expanse of shared melodic territory. Like many Southern imports, Kirwani is comparatively ‘open’, allowing for near-free use of all seven swaras in ascent and descent – although the wide dhaNi sangati attracts natural prominence, with Ni also serving as the onlydetached‘ swara (i.e. the positions 7 semitones above and below it are both varjit, thus ‘detaching’ the swara from all perfect 5th resolutions). While the raga appears to have no extant Northern prakritis, many scholars contend that the same swara set may once have been occupied by an archaic form of Pilu. Also see ragas ‘enclosed’ by Kirwani’s SRgmPdNS scale form, including Chandrakauns (no Re/Pa), Rangeshwari (no Dha), Shobhawari (no Ga/Ni), and Devranjani (no Re/Ga) – as well as Shankar’s other Carnatic experiments, notably including Charukeshi, Vachaspati, Malay Marutam, & Simhendra Madhyamam.

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Aroha: SRgmPdNS
Avroh: SNdPmGRS

Chalan: variable – pakad e.g. dPgR; SR; gmPdP (Anand)


—Nikhil Banerjee (1986)—

[theme, e.g. 2:27] dPgRS, RRR(g), gPmgR, dPgRS, R; mgRNdP, dPgRS, 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.


• Prakriti: Thaat #23


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRgmPdNS
Reverse: SrGmPDnS (=Ahir Bhairav)
Negative: 3-3-2-3-1
Imperfect: 3 (Re, ga, Ni)
Detached: 1 (Ni)
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: Kirwani set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: Keeravani
Jazz: Harmonic Minor
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o o • o • o o • • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+ga)
• Names: Kirwani, Kirvani, Keerwani


—Shiv-Hari (1999)—



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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 2023-24]

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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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