• Raag Kukubh Bilawal •


A Bilawal variant seasoned with poorvang shades of Jhinjhoti and Jaijaiwanti, which enjoys a notable presence in the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Shuddha Re typically takes centre stage, often ornamented from above as (G)R. Distinguishing phrases include SNS(G)R, GRGPmG, mGRGS(G)R, with most other movements falling into the framework of Alhaiya Bilawal (although the Agra interpretation tends to include various additional features: e.g. Gajananbuwa Joshi). Tabla scholar Aneesh Pradhan recommends renditions by B.R. Deodhar, D.V. Paluskar, and Mallikarjun Mansur (“an opportune way to celebrate Holi would be to soak in the many colours of Kukubh Bilawal…”) – and also refer to a fascinating essay by Mansur’s son Rajshekhar, reflecting on his experiences teaching the raga (“over these four days, the raga has been developing in many unpremeditated ways. The phrases come by themselves, without my having to think or deliberate….I’ve been seriously thinking about this strange phenomenon…[but] at such junctures, I revel in only continuing the myriad ways in which the raga is unfolding…”). Also compare to other Jaijaiwanti-infused ragas including Gara, Jayant Malhar, Jaijaiwanti Nat, and Lanka Dahan Sarang.

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Avroh: SNDnDP, mGmRS

Chalan: Bilawal plus motifs e.g. SNS(G)R, GRGPmG, mGRGS(G)R (Parrikar)


—Ulhas Kashalkar (1993)—

[alap, e.g. 0:05] G, m(GR) (GR)G (RS)S, S\n D P, (P)N, (N)S; (NS)G G mGR(GR)G RS(NRS), (NS)G mm, mG (GmG)P PP, D(P) D(P) (DP)D Pmm G(mGRG), G(RGmG)PmG mG(m)R, (SNRSN)S…


• Ragmalas •

Historic miniature paintings (learn more)

“Kakubha Ragini: a lone woman, accompanied by peacocks, wanders the forest holding garlands as she awaits her beloved. She rises above the groundline, literally ‘losing her footing’ as her hopes turn to fears that her lover may not show…” (Marwar, c.1630) / “Kakubha Ragini, wife of Megha: opaque watercolour on paper” (Hyderabad, c.1760)


• 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: Desh, Des Malhar, Champak, Alhaiya Bilawal, Devgiri Bilawal, Bihagara, Bihagda, Nat Kamod, Gaud Malhar, Sorath, Arun Malhar, Tilak Malhar


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRGmPDnNS
Reverse: SrRgmPdnS (=Gandhari)
Negative: 5-2-3-2
Imperfect: 1 (Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (Gm—nN)
Murchanas: Bihag set

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


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Kedaragaula
Jazz: Bebop Dominant
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o o • o • o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+Ni)
• Names: Kukubh Bilawal, Kukub Bilaval, Kookoobh Bilawal


—Kishori Amonkar (1988)—



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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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