• Raag Mohankauns •


As recounted in The Hindu, Mohankauns “was spontaneously created by Ravi Shankar in 1949. On hearing of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s death, Pandit-ji was asked by All India Radio to play a piece dedicated to the Mahatma. On the spot, he created a variation of…Malkauns”. As well as the occasional use of shuddha Re, his new raga adds a shuddha Ga in aroha, bringing special prominence to a ‘Ga-Ni-Dhacatchphrase: chosen by Shankar to spell out the Mahatma’s surname [here‘s the sloppily-distilled motif on own sitar – audible in Shankar’s take below, e.g. at 1:56, 12:57, & 18:58: also see my Alphamelodics: the hidden sounds of words article!]. Also recorded by Zia Mohiuddin Dagar on the rudra veena, as well as by Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan in a spellbinding vocal duet. Compare to other Ravi-authored forms such as Parameshwari, Gangeshwari, Kameshwari, Rangeshwari, Jogeshwari, Bairagi, Bairagi Todi, Ahir Lalit, and Pancham se Gara.

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—Ravi Shankar (1981)—

[refrain, e.g. 18:44] G GGm, n (n)d d, (dm)G Gm, G(R)Gm, m m(d) G m S, (n)d dd, (dS)n nnS S, (m)GGm, (m)G n d(nd), (dm)G, GGm, G(R)Gm, m…


• More •

Histories, melodies, mythologies, etc…

—Imagery: Mohandes K. Gandhi—
“Born Mohandas Gandhi in Gujarat, he was part of an elite family. After a period of teenage rebellion, he left India to study law in London. Before going, he promised his mother he’d abstain from sex, meat, and alcohol in an attempt to re-adopt strict Hindu morals. In 1893, at the age of 24, the new attorney moved to the British colony of Natal in Southeastern Africa to practice law. Natal was home to thousands of Indians whose labor had helped build its wealth, but the colony fostered both formal and informal discrimination against people of Indian descent. Gandhi was shocked when he was thrown out of train cars, roughed up for using public walkways, and segregated from European passengers on a stagecoach…” (National Geographic)


• 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: Madhurkauns


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SgGmdnS
Reverse: SRGPdDS
Negative: 2-1-4-1-2-2 (e.g. Rageshri)
Imperfect: 2 (Sa, Ga)
Detached: 1 (Ga)
Symmetries: mirror (G—n)
Murchanas: Hemshri set


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Ragavardhini
Jazz: Epogimic
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • • o o o • • o • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–ma (+dha)
• Names: Mohankauns, Mohan Kauns


—Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan (1978)—



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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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