• Raag Sundarkali •


A relatively straightforward audav raga, Sundarkali takes the swaras of ‘Bhairav no ma/dha’ (n.b. the same name is also used separately as an alternate title for ‘Paraj Bhairav’). Anjani Kumar Gupta’s concise bansuri rendition is virtually the only recording I could track down (alap transcribed below), although Tanarang’s disciple Prakash Vishwanath Ringe has released a brief selection of khayal demos (and sax player Mister D Cell has used it to create ambient music). Its SrGPnS swara set (equivalent to ‘Bairagi Todi with shuddha Ga‘) brings perpetual melodic tension – as one of only 6 scales in the current Index to possess the property of ‘fragmentation’ (i.e. at least half its swaras are ‘detached’, with no swaras 7 semitones above or below: in Sundarkali’s case, re/Ga/ni). Not to be confused with Sundarkauns – and also see Malay Marutam (the same scale plus shuddha Dha).

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Aroha: SrGPnS
Avroh: SnPG, PGrS

Chalan: e.g. nSrS; SrGP; PGPGrS; GPnP; GPnPGrS; SrSnPGP; PnS (Gupta)


—Anjani Kumar Gupta (2022)—

[alap, e.g. 0:02] (n)S (nSn)P S(nSnSP), P(nP) S(n) rSG r, nSnSr, SnS(nSn)P, nPSn rSGr, PnSGPn(P), P(SnSnP)G, PnSrS, P(nP) n(Sn) S(rS) P(nP) G(PG)r, S(n) PnSr, S(nSn) S, rG (r)…


• 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: SrGPnS
Reverse: SRmdNS
Negative: 3-1-2-1-2-1-2
Imperfect: 4 (re, Ga, Pa, ni)
Detached: 3 (re, Ga, ni)
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none

Quirks: fragmented‘ (at least half the swaras are detached)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ~Manaranjani
Jazz: Phrygian Dominant (no 4th/6th)
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o • • o • • o • • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Sundarkali, Sundarkhali, Sundar Kali (not Sundarkauns)


—Prakash Vishwanath Ringe (2000)—




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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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