• Raag Ramkali •


Resembling ‘Bhairav with touches of tivra Ma and komal ni in avroh’, Ramkali is an early morning raga, often associated with Sikh saintly traditions – with one author recounting that “the emotions in Ramkali are like those of a wise teacher disciplining their student, who is aware of the pain of learning” (although classical ragmala paintings commonly depict the raga using more romantic imagery: “A vivacious woman anxiously awaits her lover, [who] she suspects he has been with another woman…”). Though generally similar to Bhairav, Ramkali focuses more on madhya and taar saptak, while also rendering re and dha with less oscillation. Dhrupadyas may set their tritonal rePa sangati to subtly higher sruti (also see non-zero Sa).

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Aroha: SGmP, GmdNS
Avroh: SNdPMP, d(n)dP, GmrS

Chalan: e.g. SGmP(M)P; MPd; ndP; dMPGm; dNS; rNSNd; nDP; dMPGm; rGmP; Gm(G)rS (Bor/Sadolikar)


—Omkar Dadarkar (2017)—

[sanchari, e.g. 0:24] S(NS)G, G(mG), mG\r, N(SN)dS, S(N)S, S(NS)N\d, d(nd) P, P(dP)M, P d, P(nd), n\d, d/S, S(NrS)N\d S; S(NS)G…


• Ragmalas •

Historic miniature paintings (learn more)

“A vivacious woman anxiously awaits her lover, who has arrived far too late. The written sources describe her excitement at being near her hero, as well as her wish to enchant him. Still, she suspects he has been with another woman; dramatized by her gesture of rejection and his posture of apology…” (Bikaner, c.1605) / “Ramkali Raga, with a lady in the window and a tiger below: opaque watercolour heightened with gold” (Sirohi, c.1680)


• 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: (none found)


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SrGmMPdnNS
Reverse: SrRGmMPdNS (=Roopkali)
Negative: 5-1-6
Imperfect: 2 (Pa, dha)
Detached: none
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Mayamalavagowla
Jazz: Phrygian Dominant (dbl. 4th/7th)
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • • o o o o o • o o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa (+dha)
• Names: Ramkali, Ramakali, Ramkhali


—Manjusha Kulkarni-Patil (2013)—



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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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