Raga Bhairavi

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“I have heard that my favorite raga, Raga Bhairavi is the discovery of Miyan Tansen,” said this week’s expert Usha Timothy, Bollywood singer with base in classical music. She also said, “Raga Bhairavi is the mixture of 2 ragas – Ahiri and Bhairav. This is a complete raga of the Bhairavi Thaat. All the swaras are used in this raga.”

Nuances: To explain in the Western musical terms, Raga Bhairavi uses the Phrygian mode, i.e. one of the traditional European church modes. Raga Bhairavi is sung early in the morning around 3-4 O’clock. The vadi is M, while the samvadi is S. The basic scales of the raga have only the komal swaras – R G D and Ni. But, the shuddha swaras M P are also used to enhance the beauty of this raga. This raga is sung toward the end of a Hindustani Music Concert, traditionally. Karnatak Todi is a similar raga from the Carnatic Music.

Bollywood and Raga Bhairavi: Raga Bhairavi has been used in Bollywood a lot. Many music directors have composed songs based on this raga. But, Naushad Sahab and Shankar-Jaikishan have scored the music for many songs on this raga. Usha Timothy selected the following songs for us:

Do hanson ka joda… – Ganga Jamuna (1961)

Tumhare sang mai bhi chalungi Piya… – Sohni-Mahiwal (1958)

Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamuna ki dhara… – Baiju Bawra (1952)

Barsaat mein humse mile tum Sajan… – Barsaat (1949)

Main piya teri tu mane ya na mane… – Basant Bahar (1956)

Manbhavan ke ghar jaye gori… – Chori Chori (1956)

Phul gendwa na maro… – Dooj Ka Chand (1964)

Laga chunri mein daag… – Dil Hi Toh Hai (1963)

Agar mujhse mohabbat hai… – Aap Ki Parchaiyan (1964)

Nache man mora magan… – Meri Soorat Teri Ankhen (1963)

Dil ka khilona haye toot gaya… – Goonj Uthi Shehenai (1959)

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