• Raag Sehera •


Among the strangest of raga scales, Sehera’s six swaras are all spaced out in two-semitone jumps (akin to the Western Whole-Tone scale and the Carnatic Gopriya). The resulting symmetries summon a curious, centreless mood (also famous as the ‘dream sequence‘ of countless soundtracks) – best explored by sarangiya Sultan Khan, who described Sehera as “the forbidden scale”, and, after pre-recording it for AIR, reportedly requested that his session “should not be aired…it is too sad”. Thankfully, he did cut a haunting ghazal with Mehdi Hassan, manipulating a GMdS refrain over ambiguous harmonium drones (…what would you even tune a tanpura to?). Also see Imratkauns, the same scale but with shuddha ma instead.

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Aroha: SRGMdnS
Avroh: SndMGRS

Chalan: (uncodified)


—Mehdi Hassan & Sultan Khan (1977)—

[refrain, e.g. 4:58] MGRS, dnSG, GMdMGMd, MGRS


• 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: SRGMdnS
Reverse: SRGMdnS (=itself)
Negative: 2-2-2-2-2-2 (=itself)
Imperfect: 6 (Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, dha, ni)
Detached: 6 (Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, dha, ni)
Symmetries: mirror (x6)
Murchanas: itself (x5)

Quirks: ‘self-murchana‘ (rotationally symmetric) • ‘self-shadowing‘ (negative form=core form) • ‘fully fragmented‘ (6/6 detached) • tivra Ma, komal ni‘ (rarest pairing) • palindromic‘ (same intervals forwards & backwards) • ‘centred‘ (constellation balances at the wheel’s centrepoint) • ‘maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: Gopriya
Jazz: Whole-Tone Scale
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • o • o • o • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–??
• Names: Sehera, Sahera, Sehra, Gopriya


—Sayeed Ur Rahman (1996)—



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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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