• Raag Ramdasi Malhar •


A diverse sankirna raga, fabled as a creation of Guru Ram Das – a 16th-century Sikh saint said to have opened Emperor Akbar’s eyes to the unity of the divine (“these jagirs [feudal land grants] are sources of evil passions, pride, and ego…it is by the name of God that all creatures, continents, worlds, and spheres are sustained…”). Today’s Ramdasi Malhar exists in several guises, generally summarisable as ‘Miyan ki Malhar double-Ga’, with the komal confined to the avroh. Tanarang, who calls the raga “soothing and heavy”, highlights the maRe, RePa, & niPa sangatis, and suggests the descending phrase PgmRS to end taans – and Parrikar notes ‘special pragoyas’ of SRGGm, mGm; mPDN DPmGm; SDnP, mPDnP, while cautioning that “no general [chalan] can be written down, given the disparate strategies adopted”.

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—Venkatesh Kumar (2016)—

[themes, e.g. 0:04] g(m)RSR, NSRPm P; (S)gmP (g)mgm RS, Rg(m)R, PP(m)nP; mPDNS(R)NS, g(mPNSPmgR), gm R(gRSNS), g(m)RSR, NSRPm P


• More •

Histories, melodies, mythologies, etc…

—Imagery: Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)—

“Guru Ram Das and the old Dukh Bhanjani tree: considered to be sacred, and to contain miraculous power, standing in the Golden Temple complex on the eastern side of the Amrit Sarovar. According to the legend, the leper husband of Bibi Rajani was cured by taking a dip in the pond near the tree. Guru Ram Das Ji decided to develop the reservoir into a proper bathing pool. He named the tree ‘Dukh Bhanjani’ [‘Eradicator of Suffering’]…” (Gian Singh Naqqash)


• 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: Jaijaiwanti, Jaijaiwanti Nat, Gara, Zila Kafi, Hanskinkini, Jayant Malhar, Rageshri Bahar, Tilang Bahar, Nagadhwani Kanada, Patdeepaki


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRgGmPDnNS
Reverse: SrRgmPdDnS (=Amiri Todi)
Negative: 5-5-2
Imperfect: 1 (Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (r—P)
Murchanas: Jaijaiwanti set

Quirks: maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Kapi
Jazz: ‘Dorian + Ionian’
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o o o o • o • o o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Ramdasi Malhar, Ram Dasi Malhar


—Manjiri Asanare-Kelkar (2020)—



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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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