• Raag Meladalan •


A truly oddball creation I stumbled upon in Subbha Rao’s 1965 Raga Nidhi Vol. 3: “Meladalan and ‘Thatavidhwamasa’ are pseudo-names which Acharya Brahaspati…has given to a raga the identity of which [he] wants to keep unpublished for certain reasons. He points out, however, that it is an ancient raga which he wants to bring into life again”. Both these titles mean ‘destroying the foundational scales’: indicating Brahaspati’s boundary-pushing intentions – the raga’s SrgmMdnS swara set, which contains all five vikrit positions, is perhaps best summarised as ‘Bhairavi komal Pa’ (a ‘disallowed thaat’ in both North and South India due to the presence of ‘mM & no Pa’). Akin to the Western Locrian Mode, the scale is also the ‘missing member’ of the Bilawal murchana set – generally ignored in Hindustani music due to the awkwardness of tivra Ma inevitably functioning more like a ‘komal Pa’. Rao, who gives a vadi-samvadi of Sama, notes “andolan on tivra Ma…this raga is appealing when sung in vilambit”, also adding that re is omitted in aroha, and ni in avroh. Frustratingly, I can’t track down any of Brahaspati’s own renditions (his bandish is entitled Nada Sindhu Athaha Hai) – but Ulhas Bapat’s independently-created Parijat (below), which takes the same swaras, is an outstanding demonstration of the scale’s multidirectional possibilities: I’d describe it more as ‘decentered’ than ‘dissonant’, with the santoor’s evenly-weighted timbres allowing for murchana-shades of multiple ragas, notably including Bageshri (from ga) and Khamaj (from dha). Also see Lalit (the predominant ‘komal Pa’ raga) and Ahir Lalit (the only other ‘mM/no Pa/komal ni‘ raga I can identify) – as well as my geometric analysis of the nine ‘unfilled thaat’ scales. Ripe for further exploration!

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Aroha: SrgmMdnS
Avroh: SndMmgrS

Chalan: (uncodified)


—Ulhas Bapat (2003)—

[gat, e.g. 27:43] grn, dS (S)Srn Srg mMdMm grn, dS; mMdS, rS gS mS MS dSrg mMdMm grn, dS; gMdSg r (nd)M MM (d)n md d, Mmg; grn, dS


• 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 | MishraOddball

Origin: Ancient | Carnatic | Modern

Dominance: Poorvang | Uttarang

Prevalence: A-list | Prachalit | Aprach.


• Prakriti: (none found)


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SrgmMdnS
Reverse: SRGMPDNS (=Yaman)
Negative: 3-2-3-2-2 (e.g. Malkauns)
Imperfect: 1 (Sa)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (g—D)
Murchanas: Bilawal set

Quirks: ‘komal Pa‘ (=mMP) • maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: (~Lalitha)
Jazz: Locrian
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • o • o o • o • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–ma
• Names: Meladalan, Thatavidhwamasa, Parajit, ‘Madhyam se Bhairavi


—Sarita Pathak Yajurvedi (2019)—
(I can’t trace any renditions of Brahaspati’s Meladalan itself: so this is an explanation of his Rampur khayal style via various Brahaspati-composed bandish)




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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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