• Raag Maru Bihag •


Despite its A-list status (Deepak Raja’s Ragascape research lists it as the 13th most-performed raga), Maru Bihag is a relatively recent invention, at least in its own right – Parrikar notes that “Thakurdas speaks of an older Raag Maru as its progenitor…[but] the Maru Bihag in currency is widely acknowledged to be a product of Jaipur-Atrauli [gharana] founder Alladiya Khan’s prodigious imagination” (hear his original bandish: Rasiya Hu Na Jaun). Marked by the use of double-Ma (of which the tivra is more frequent), the raga’s Bihag heritage (e.g. PNSG) is balanced by Kalyanic phrases (e.g. MG (S)RS). Dha and Re tend to be varjit in aroha, and Pa is a prominent nyas, with many considering the Pa-Sa axis as the vadi-samvadi.

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—Nirali Karthik (2016)—

[bandish, e.g. 1:43] (S)NS (M)GMP, (P)MG G(RG), GMP/N(P), (P)S(NSDnDn)P, P P(ND)PM, MPM(G) (M)G(R)S S, (S)NS (M)GMP


• 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.


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: S-R-G-mM-P-D-N-S
Reverse: SrgmMPdnS (=none)
Inverse: ni; SgmnS (=none)
Imperfect: 1 (Ma)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (mM—NS)
Murchanas: Bihag set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: Behag
Jazz: Lydionian
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o o o o • o • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+Ni)
• Names: Maru Bihag, Marubihag, Meru-Bihag, ‘Yamani Bihag’


—Ravi Shankar (1963)—




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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]

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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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