Hindustani classical music: Magic of the Ragas

The famous poet and author Sankha Ghosh once wrote in his book ‘Journal’, ‘I do not understand the inner intricacies of raga music…but is it at all required?That I am able to touch the musician’s soul through his music, which is full of pathos and happiness at the same time, is that not more than enough?’

His beautiful words guide us through the aesthetic approach of listening to raga music, leaving behind all controversies regarding the traditional time theory of Hindustani ragas. Feeling the melody from within one’s soul is equally (if not more) important as understanding the technical side of it.

Every raga has been allotted a specific three hour time span during the twenty-four hours of a day, and it is said its true beauty is revealed during this period. There are certain melodies of specific seasons too.

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Just when dawn breaks and the eastern sky slowly begins unveiling itself, try listening to a piece of Raga Jogiya, Lalit or Bhatiyar. The immense beauty that the first light brings with it is further escalated with the serene tunes of the morning ragas. Even if one listens to Raga Bhairav during some other time of the day, doesn’t the image of daybreak come in her mind naturally?

As the early morning rolls to afternoon, we can trace its steps through a host of ragas- right from Raga Bhairavi to Sarang and Bhimpalasi. With the day coming to a close, a sense of pathos and poignancy takes us over. To add an extra shade to the twilight, Raga Poorvi, Shree and Patdeep come over the kingdom of dusk. The true charm of these ragas is revealed at this time of the day, and the feeling they bring with them is quite inexplicable.

Sundown is followed by evening, after which the reign of darkness begins. The calmness of Yaman, Kedar, and Bageshri thus leads to the deep and intense tunes of Malkauns and Darbari Kanada. Listening to these ragas at midnight can be truly scintillating!

The harmony of music and nature is thus capable of giving us the pure bliss we long for!

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