• Raag Tilak Bhairav •


An ultra-rare raga associated with Imdadkhani composer Dhruva Tara Joshi, spanning the full swara sets of Bhairav and Tilak Kamod. Although initially a sitarist, Joshi’s sole traceable take of the raga is a vocal-only rendition from a lecture-demo (seemingly the result of an injury forcing him away from the strings) – which concisely interweaves phrases from both parent ragas, combining them into a highly distinctive whole. Shuddha Re and Dha are vital to the ascent path, and komal re is typically confined to concluding lines (e.g. SGmPm; G\rS). Aside from this single rendition, virtually the only other ‘Tilak Bhairav’ mention I can find is from Dard Neuman’s excellent 2012 paper Pedagogy, Practice, and Embodied Creativity in Hindustani Music (“The cases of Tilak Bhairav and Sohini Pancham are instructive…Joshi knows these ragas separately, but is able to identify them [in isolation] only after the names are presented”) – although Akashvani Vol. 38 notes that Agra vocalist Aparna Chakraborty performed the raga for Calcutta A.I.R. on 7th Oct 1973. Further information welcome – and, in the meantime, you can learn more about Joshi via his own unfinished memoirs (“I fell in love with music after listening to Ustad Enayat Khan’s sitar recital for the first time in Lucknow. I decided then and there that I would learn from this legendary musician…”).

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—Dhruv Tara Joshi (~1960s)—

[alap, e.g. 0:30] N(RSN) (P)S, SGR, Rm(P)G, G(RSG)R G, (S)G, (Pm)G\r S; S(m)R m(G)P(G), P(GmG)d P, Pd(mPm), PD mP(mG), S(G)RG\r S…


• 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: AudavShadav | 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: SrRGmPdDNS
Reverse: SrgGmPdnNS (=Shivmat Bhairav)
Negative: 5-3-4
Imperfect: 2 (dha, Ni)
Detached: none
Symmetries: none
Murchanas: none


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: (~Kanakangi)
Jazz: ‘Ionian + Phrygian Dominant’
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o o o • o o • o o o • o o


• Tanpura: Sa–Pa
• Names: Tilak Bhairav, Bhairav Tilak


—Dhruv Tara Joshi—

(virtually the only other mention of the raga I can find: from Dard Neuman’s excellent 2012 paper Pedagogy, Practice, and Embodied Creativity in Hindustani Music)




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Hindustani Raga Index

An open-ended project seeking to bring North Indian raga closer to all who approach with open ears. Combines direct input from dozens of leading Hindustani artists with in-depth insights from music history, global theory, performance practice, cognitive science, and much more! [out 2023-24]

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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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