Raga Hamsadhwani


Today’s Classical Music expert is Nisschal Zaveri and he has selected the beautiful Raga Hamsadhwani for this week. He wants to share this about the raga, “Each raga comes with a separate spirit and fragrance of its own. Hamsadhwani is no different. It is a raga which brings positivity and spreads happiness and prosperity. I quite often associate this raga with Lord Ganesha, who is the God of prosperity and wealth. This quality of the raga makes it an auspicious raga as well.”

History and Nuances: Hamsadhwani is typically a Carnatic raga which crossed over into the North Indian form of classical music. It is said that the popular version of this raga was created by Ramaswami Dikshitar, father of Muttuswami, the famous poet and music composer of the South. When Muttuswami visited Varanasi, he introduced this raga to the North Indian musicians for the first time. It was instantly adopted and revered and still remains a part of both the classical forms of Indian music.

It is usually sung in the second quarter of the night or Dwitiha Prahar – 7 PM to 10 PM. The raga originates from the Bilawal Thaat. Raga Hamsadhwani belongs to Audhav-Audhav jaati, which means there are only a total of 5 notes used while ascending and 5 notes while descending. Ma and Dha are excluded from the swaras in this raga. Rest of the swaras are all shuddh. Re plays a very important part in this raga with Sa as the vaadi and Pa as samvaadi.

Aaroha has Sa Re Ga Pa Ni Ša.

Avaroha has Ša Ni Pa Ga Re Sa.

Bollywood and Raga Hamsadhwani: Not many Bollywood composers have utilized this raga to its full potential. But, it has been masterfully used quite a lot in the South Indian film industry by greats such as Ilaiyaraja, A R Rahman. Bollywood composers like Salil Choudhary, C Ramachandra and more recently Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have used this raga often. Some songs that use Raga Hamsadhwani are:

Vellai pookkal… Kannathil Muttamittal (2002)

Vaa Vaa Vaa… Velaikaran (1987)

Theekuruvi… Kangalal Kaidhu Sei (2003)

O Chaand jahan woh… Sharada (1957)

Ja tose nahi boloon Kanhaiya… Parivaar (1956)

Tere naina… Chandni Chowk to China (2009)

Probably, the most famous tune in this raga is the bandish Lagi lagan… This bandish has been performed by most all classical musicians.


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