• Raag Pancham •


An ancient raga of great historical renown, which is nevertheless rare in the modern era. Ramrang cites it as a descendent of the long-extinct Bhukosh (also an antecedent of Bhinna Shadja), with others linking it to the prakriti Bhankar and Bhatiyar (distinguished via sequences such as GMGrS; mmmGP; MDMmG). Most interpretations approximate the swaras of ‘Marwa double Ma’, although available recordings show little consensus beyond this (refer to those of Arun Kashalhar, Mashkoor Ali Khan, Pourmina Dhumale, and Acharya Jayanta Bose). Despite its name, many renditions lack the Pa swara altogether [n.b. the meaning of ‘Pancham’ in raga names can be ambiguous, and may not indicate the presence of the Pancham raga itself: e.g. ‘Pancham Malkauns’ indicates the addition of Pa, and ‘Pancham se Gara’ refers to the scale’s Pa-murchana production]. Frequently depicted in classical ragmala paintings (as per the accompanying notes to a Kangra series: “Pancham, son of Bhairav, is personified as a young prince seated on a chowki, fondling a family of deer…The leaves and lotus flowers in the lake are in wild disarray, as if intoxicated with the raga’s rich, delicate melody”).

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Aroha: SrS, mGP, MDS
Avroh: rSrND, MDMmg, MGrS

Chalan: e.g. GMG; rS; mm; mGP; MDMm; mG; MDS; rS; rND; MDMmG; rG; MGrS (Sharma)


—Pournima Dhumale (2020)—

[refrain, e.g. 21:22] N(R)N (DP)DP, S (SN)S, SS(SNSRSRSN)N, PSN(RPNPRDR)D, (DP)D P, P\Gm, S


• Ragmalas •

Historic miniature paintings (learn more)

“Panchama Ragini, from a Rajasthani folio: watercolor and gold” (Jaipur, c.1760) / Panchama Ragini: opaque watercolour on paper” (unknown, c.1690)

“Panchama Ragini: the prince and his mistress gaze into each other’s eyes, their desire signalled by a vermillion background. He reaches for her breast and, drinking her in, caresses the nape of her neck. The text describes her as ‘So ravishingly beautiful that she carries even the hearts of women, and is immersed in the color and joy of melody’. Outside, a musician retires his veena, and the silence now descending upon the pavilion is interrupted by the jingle of coins landing in his palm. It is night, and a light breeze sways the cypress trees and tall flowers as they rise toward the starry sky…” (Raghogarh, c.1675) / “The artwork’s patron has inserted himself into the composition here: he reaches out to pay the two musicians. The text speaks of his contented happiness and love…” (Bikaner, c.1640)


• 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: Bhankari, Bhatiyar, Shuddha Basant, Lalit Pancham, Sohini Pancham, Vihang


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SrGmMPDNS
Reverse: SrgmMPdNS
Negative: 4-1-5-2
Imperfect: 2 (re, Pa)
Detached: none
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Chayatharangini
Jazz: Lydian-Ionian b2
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • • o o o o • o • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–ma
• Names: Pancham, Panchama, Pancama


—Acharya Jayanta Bose (2022)—



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