• Raag Shuddha Malhar •


Perhaps the oldest surviving Malhar raga (‘shuddha’, as well as referring to ‘pure’ or ‘unaltered’ specific swaras, may also indicate a ‘primary’ or ‘original’ quality: as with the similarly-ancient Shuddha Basant), marked by “a ponderous gait and a meend-rich contour”. As per the accompanying notes to a K.G. Ginde lecture-demo, Shuddha Malhar is distinguished from its prakritis Durga and Jaldhar Kedar through the ucharana of its m(m)R; (m)RP kernel, as well as uttarang motions of mP(S)DS, SDPm (although Ginde considers all three ragas to share a maSa vadisamvadi, plus Pa as a further nyas). Also refer to Lalith J. Rao’s energetic demo performance and a summary of insights gleaned from lakshanagranthas – and compare to other ancient Malhars including Gaud Malhar, Arun Malhar, and Ramdasi Malhar.

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Aroha: SRm, PDS
Avroh: SDP, mRS

Chalan: signatures e.g. SRm; mR; (m)RP; mPDS; (DP)m; mR; (m)RPRm; RS (Ginde)


—Lalith J. Rao (1994)—

[refrain, e.g. 0:36] m\RR PP S\DD (D)SRS, SDP, m\RR PP S\DD (D)SRS


• 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: Durga, Jaldhar Kedar


–Swara Geometries–

Core form: SRmPDS
Reverse: SgmPnS (=Dhani)
Negative: 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 (e.g. Bilawal)
Imperfect: 1 (Dha)
Detached: none
Symmetries: mirror (r—P)
Murchanas: Bhupali set

Quirks: ‘atritonal‘ (no available tritones) • maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Suddha Saveri
Jazz: Ritusen Pentatonic
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • o • • o • o • o • • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Shuddha Malhar, Suddha Malhara


—Bismillah Khan (~1990s)—



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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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