• Raag Madhuvanti •


A shringara raga of recent origin, Madhuvanti is geared towards evoking a ‘sweet’ flavour (‘Madhu’ means ‘Honey’). Rajan Parrikar cites “shared credits for its development…Vilayat Khan is said to have conceived it [in the] 1940s…and around the same time, Vamanrao Padhye of Kolhapur composed a similar raga and called it ‘Ambika’, after the Goddess [Saraswati]. The tone set resembles ‘Yaman komal ga‘, with all swaras except komal ga set to their highest specific variants (SRMPDN), while also lying close to Simhendra Madhyamam (which takes a komal dha instead). Prakriti with the rare Anjani Kalyan (created by Ramrang via rendering Madhuvanti’s aroha sampurna rather than audav) – and Multani is a phraseological ally, formed by lowering Re and Dha to their komal forms. Compare to Tanseni Madhuvanti (the same scale with double-Ni, incorporated via a Malharic nDNS motion) – as well as the full Nat Bhairav murchana set.

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Aroha: NSgMPNS

Chalan: e.g. SNS; MgRSRS; MgPM; gMgP; PMDDP; gMPN; NS; PNSgRS; RNSDP; DMPg; MPgRSR; NS (Raja)


—Pravin Godkhindi (2014)—

[alap phrases, e.g. 0:02] PS(NRSNS)N, (S)N, (S)N(SNDP), PS(NSDN)S (N)S, (NR)SNDP N, P(MPM) D(PMP) S(NRSNS)N, DPD P(MP); N P(S)NSg g(RS), (SRS)R, Sg(R) (SR)N, NSRNSR NDP(MP)M P(DPMP) S(NRSNS)N, PNSM(gMg)RS, NSgM(gR)S…


• More •

Histories, melodies, mythologies, etc…

—Visualising Madhuvanti—
  • Refer to a superb pair of pen-and-paper ‘swara-path visualisations‘ from the MusicRiyaaz channel, each revealing more about Madhuvanti’s strange shape (1: scale form & 2: ornaments) – also drawing from the raga’s filmi settings (Arijit Singh’s Muskurahat & Lata Mangeshkar’s Rasm-E-Ulfat):

—Imagery: creating madhu—

“The term ‘madhu’ [honey] has been used since the Rigveda, and appears in Hindu religious literature in a similar metaphorical sense to ‘wine’ (e.g. ‘the wine of truth’). For example, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad contains a chapter called the ‘Madhu Brahmana’, which states that ‘the secret essence of the Vedas themselves is called the ‘Madhu-vidya’ [honey doctrine]…” (Madhu)


• 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 #5, Anjani Kalyan


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRgMPDNS
Reverse: SrgmMDnS
Negative: 3-3-1-3-2 (e.g. Madhukauns)
Imperfect: 3 (ga, Ma, Dha)
Detached: 1 (ga)
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: Nat Bhairav set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Dharmavati
Jazz: Lydian b3
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o o • • o o • o • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+Ni)
• Names: Madhuvanti, Madhuvani, Ambika, ‘Madhumalati’


—Shivkumar Sharma (2011)—



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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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