• Raag Tivrakauns •


A one-off experiment by rare raga connoisseur Abhirang, formed by changing Malkaunsshuddha ma vadi to its tivra variant. This shift renders both Sa and Madetached’ (i.e. with no swaras either 7 semitones above or below them: a property shared by only Harikauns and Sehera), meaning that conclusive resolutions towards the raga’s two most prominent swaras are hard to conjure. This brings a sharp disbalance to all melodic motions, as even the more ‘classic’ Malkauns phrases (e.g. ndnS) are fundamentally recoloured by the lack of stable home ground. Abhirang, who includes the tivra Ma in his tanpura tuning, tends to accentuate the komal ga with ornaments from above (e.g. M\g; (dM)g), manipulating the raga’s tension profile via the extent of Ma’s usage as a melodic endpoint. I contacted him to ask more: his explanation links it to Mangal Gujari (the same scale plus komal re), as well as a congruent Carnatic form called ‘Karmapu’ (which I can’t yet trace in the wild) – giving vadisamvadi options of gani or dhaga, and noting nyas of Sa, ga, & dha amidst a general poorvang-dominance. The raga appears to have no murchanas, hinting at a high degree of general geometric isolation (…although if you interpret the swara wheel’s specific positions as if they were the vibhags of a tala cycle, i.e. ‘SrRgGmMPdDnNS’ = ‘3-3-2-2-2’, you get the ultra-rotatable ‘bulerias’ pattern of Spanish flamenco). Ripe for further exploration by those who seek fresh melodic challenge!

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Aroha: SgMdnS
Avroh: SndMgS

Chalan: uncodified – pakad e.g. SgMd; Mdnd(M)g; SgMgn; dnSgS (Abhirang: supplied via email)


—Abhijith Shenoy ‘Abhirang’ (2022)—

[refrain, e.g. 7:16] (M)d g(S) M(dMd) g, S S(gS) (n)d, n(d)S, gM (M)d g(S) M(dMd) g, S S(gS) (n)d, n(d)S; (d)Md n M(gn) n(dnd) d, Md(ndMg), gM(dMg) (S)gS S, S(gS) (n)d, nS…


• Classifiers •

Explore hidden inter-raga connections: swara geometries, melodic features, murchana sets, ragangas, & more (also see the Full Tag List):

Swaras: -4 | 5 | 6 | 78 | 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 | 32 | Enclosed | 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: SgMdnS
Reverse: SRGMDS
Negative: 2-1-2-1-2-2-2 (e.g. Charukeshi)
Imperfect: 3 (Sa, Ma, ni
Detached: 2 (Sa, Ma)
Symmetries: mirror (g—D
Murchanas: none

Quirks: ‘detached Sa‘ • tivra Ma, komal ni‘ (rarest pairing) • ‘maximal‘ (swaras are optimally ‘spread out’)


–Global Translations–

Carnatic: ‘Karmapu’
Jazz: Phrygian Pentatonic (#4)
Pitch classes (‘fret-jumps’):

o • • o • • o • o • o • o


• Tanpura: Sa–Ma
• Names: Tivrakauns, Teevra Kauns, Tivra Kaunsi, Teevra Madhyam Malkauns, ‘Karmapu’




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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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