Raga, also spelled raag or ragam (in southern India), (from Sanskrit, meaning “colour” or “passion”), in the classical music of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, a melodic framework for improvisation and composition. A raga is based on a scale with a given set of notes, a typical order in which they appear in melodies, and characteristic musical motifs. The basic components of a raga can be written down in the form of a scale (in some cases differing in ascent and descent). By using only these notes, by emphasizing certain degrees of the scale, and by going from note to note in ways characteristic to the raga, the performer sets out to create a mood or atmosphere (rasa) that is unique to the raga in question. There are several hundred ragas in present use.
RAGA – THE SOUL OF INDIAN MUSIC! The following is the Sanskrit definition given to the word, ‘raga’:“Ranjayati Iti Raaga:”That which pleases the ear is referred to as a raga. The raga can be defined as a melodic type or melodic mould. It is a collection of notes in a particular order, giving rise to a melody type. The raga is the very soul of Indian music. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to define a raga in just a word or two.
Nowhere else in world music can you see the existence of a phenomenon like the raga. Hence the Indian raga system generates much interest among musicians and musicologists of world music.
The raga is a compilation of a series of notes in an octave, which bear a definite relationship to one another and occur in varied phrases of permutation and combination, thereby giving a shape and a unique personality to it. The raga must have a minimum of five notes in the order as prescribed by the ancient texts on music. Further, it must have a Sa and either the Ma or the Pa. There are exceptions in Carnatic music, of course, but those ragas have limited scope. The raga is ornamented with various shakes and graces too, thereby enabling it to emote and breathe life and expression into a song.
Western music places importance on scales. Western classical music deals with various major and minor scales as the basis of its music. These scales are of equal temperament, meaning they are rendered in the same way by each and everyone singing or playing that particular scale.Indian music, on the other hand, stresses on scales of unequal temperament.
Traditionally, ragas were associated with specific times of day and seasons of the year, and they were thought to have supernatural effects such as bringing rain or causing fire.
Ragas are said to have healing properties, if sung properly. Each raga admits of one predominant rasa or emotion. One raga might even portray more than one emotion, if treated in different ways.
While some of the seasonal associations are maintained by certain musicians, these restrictions are largely ignored in modern concert life, as most public performances take place in the evening and are concentrated in the cooler parts of the year. Nevertheless, in program notes or verbal introductions, musicians often refer to the traditional associations of time and season.
A raga performance typically lasts for half an hour or more. It may be entirely improvised, or it may combine improvisation with a memorized composition that also uses only the stipulated tones of the given raga.
RAGA DARBARI "the king of the ragas* and the raga of the kings"
Darbari is the name of a raga and comes from the word darbar (the king's court.) It is said to have been invented by Tansen, a musician who sang in the darbar (royal court) of the Emperor Akbar. It is one of the most melodious ragas in Hindustani music, a night time rag. It is very difficult to master, and the emotions of this raga are mostly romantic and of joy. It is a popular raga for hindi songs and ghazals. Manish has many compositions using this raga, since it is one of his very favorites to compose and sing (Shivoham, Jai Radha Madhava, Jaya Shiva Omkara, Prasad; as well as Raga Darbari on Moonlight Ragas CD)