Thaat Bilawal

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Today’s expert Brinda Roy Chowdhury has selected Thaat Bilawal for this week. She has this to say about it, “Bilawal is a basic thaat of Hindusthani Classical music. It has come from the word Veraval, Gujarat. All the notes of this Raga are shuddh. However, while we take up the ragas that come under this thaat, it can have some alterations. That is, they can have the komal or what we call the flat notes in them. I will be taking up six ragas that come under Thaat Bilawal. Also, Thaat Bilawal has become the basic scale of North Indian music from early 19th century.”

Bollywood and Thaat Bilawal: Let us discuss a few ragas belonging to Thaat Bilawal and some Bollywood songs based on them.

  1. Raga Bilawal – Chhookar mere man ko… Yaraana (1981)
  2. Raga Alaiyah Bilawal – Bhor aayi gaya andhiyara… Bawarchi (1972), Jana Gana Mana (National Anthem) Here the skeleton of Thaat Bilawal is very much there but with a little alteration of Komal Ni in Avroha.
  3. Raga Bihaag – Tere sur aur mere geet… Goonj Uthi Shehenai (1959) Again, we see the change with the usage of both the Mas in avaroha. Also in aaroha, Re and Dha are not used.
  4. Raga Durga – Hum intezar karenge… Bahu Begum (1967) All the swaras are shuddh in accordance with Thaat Bilawal. But Ga and Ni are not sung in this raga.
  5. Raga Deshkar – Jyoti kalash chhalke… Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan (1961) Ma and Ni are the varjit swaras.
  6. Hansadhwani – Ja tose nahi boloon Kanhaiya… Parivaar (1956) Ma and dha are varjit.

Others like Raga Shankara, Raga Maand, Raga Pahadi and more also come under Thaat Bilawal.

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5 responses to “Thaat Bilawal”

  1. We often here these wonderful famous melodies but never think back about its origin. Knowing it’s origin and background makes these evergreen songs even more interesting. Thanks Brinda RoyChoudhury and Gayatri Rao.

  2. beautiful explanation so “Thaat Bilawal” can be a raaga as well style of Thaat or
    just a style of Thhat!!
    nice to know old film songs info about they were composed under such influence of those particular Raagas. Please cover more raaga as well I would like you post same education class on Raaga Darbari and Bhirwaii

  3. can you tell me what Tanpura you were using in back ground and what Indian scale it was set with which strings were played ?? Like Sa Ga Pa or Sa Pa etc !!
    it sounded so good with all the Raagas you cover under Ragga Bilawal
    please post more details about “Tanpura” in back ground.
    Thank you
    Chetan

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